Farmers’ Market gets help in hunger fight

Farmers’ Market Manager Hannah Ladwig writes:

“On behalf of Gorge Grown Food Network and Hood River Farmers’ Market, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the members of the Hood River City Council for waiving the rental fee for use of the Columbia Lot for the 2018 market season. With the savings from the lot rental, Gorge Grown will be able to bolster our Match Program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP clients that shop at the farmers market.

“Increasing access to farmers’ markets for our low-income community members is vital because one in three people in the Gorge do not have enough to eat. Hunger is pervasive in the city limits of Hood River, not just the more rural corners of the Gorge; about half of public school students in Hood River receive free/reduced lunch.

“Food access programs at farmers’ markets are unique because they are designed to embolden low-income shoppers to use their benefits on locally grown food. Popular food access programs, like SNAP Match, increase demand for local food and translate to more money spent with local vendors, stronger relationships between farmers and customers, and a more inclusive public market space.

“The market also bolsters our community’s food security. In 2017, the farmers’ market was able to incorporate new growers, increasing the number of farms operating in our community.

“Ninety-eight percent of the food we consume in the Gorge is shipped in from other areas. Increasing the amount of food produced in our community means we’ll be better prepared when highways are closed and grocery store shelves are bare.

“Thank you to the Hood River City Council for recognizing the important value that a farmers market brings to our economy and community!”

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