AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807
417-881-8909
417-881-8058
burtond@missouri.edu

August 18, 2017


"Meet Your Market" Educational Fair in Springfield Called a Success


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The new Food Collaborative of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks hosted a "Meet Your Market" Educational Fair on Friday, Aug. 11 at Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield.

The event focused on providing resources and education to attendees about Double-Up-Food-Bucks. This is a program that allows and encourages USDA's SNAP (Supplemental Assistance Program) participants to maximize their money at local farmers markets.

Representatives from Greater Springfield Farmers' Market, Farmers Market of the Ozarks, and C-Street City Market were onsite to share information about their markets and offer a taste of local produce.

Representatives of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, City of Springfield, Ozarks Food Harvest and University of Missouri Extension were present and provided information and education on food preservation and storage, gardening, recipes, cooking methods, and transportation options to the markets.

"This was a great time for our event because it was during National Farmers' Market week. The USDA established this special week to encourage families to meet, and buy from, the farmers, ranchers and other vendors at their local farmer's markets. Our farmer's markets here in the Ozarks are an important part of helping us build healthier communities by strengthening our local community food system," said Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The Food Collaborative is working to support connections between the various parts of our local food system. This means making connections from where the food is produced at local ranches, farms, CSAs and gardens to the processing, and distribution of food and then ultimately to our kitchen table or a table at our local school through Farm to School efforts.

"We wanted to highlight the Double-Up-Bucks program - which allows SNAP participants to visit participating Farmers Markets and double the value of every dollar they spend to use toward the purchase of local fruits and vegetables," said Mary Ellison, health department WIC coordinator.

Farmer's Markets in Springfield, Webb City, Branson, Houston and other Missouri locations are participating. Customers can find a location online at www.doubleupheartland.org.

Partners in this program are supporting growers to scale up production to provide a sustainable supply of local food for our grocers, restaurants, and hospitals. A healthy local community food system supports local farmers, grows our local economy, and most importantly provides access to nutritious, affordable, and healthy food for every member of our community.

"The Greater Springfield Farmers Market has been participating in the Double-Up-Bucks program for over a year now, and we have seen a significant increase in our customer base - especially those who need greater access to locally grown fruits and vegetables," said Brad Gray, Market Manager.

Gray notes that the program is a win-win for local farmers and EBT cardholders. Also, this program helps to increase demand for year round access to locally grown vegetables, which hopefully will stimulate winter production for local farmers markets.

"The educational fair was a great opportunity for our local food advocates and providers to inform citizens about the options available and to enable us to learn more about what barriers citizens have in accessing those opportunities," said Ashley Fears, Market Development Specialist, City of Springfield.

According to Fears, the Food Collaborative is eager to continue supporting events like this to better inform the community about local, healthy, sustainable food access for all.

"The Food Collaborative hit the ground running and immediately identified double up food bucks as a crucial gap in our community," said Mandy Hagseth, Director of Community Collaboratives at Community Partnership of the Ozarks. "The whole food community is at the table exchanging ideas and making things happen. It's amazing synergy."

For more information contact Dr. Pam Duitsman in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.


Source: Dr. Pam Duitsman, (417) 881-8909

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