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ID Farmers Markets: SNAP Dollars Go Twice As Far

Idaho is in the heart of its growing season and farmers markets are up in towns big and small. (Thomas Leth-Olsen/Flickr)
Idaho is in the heart of its growing season and farmers markets are up in towns big and small. (Thomas Leth-Olsen/Flickr)
July 15, 2019

BOISE, Idaho – The season for Idaho farmers markets is in full swing, offering nutritious and fresh options for folks around the state.

For recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), their dollars spent at the market can go twice as far. For participating markets, the Double Up Food Bucks program offers to match each dollar spent up to $10 or $20.
The matching dollars can then be used to purchase fruits and vegetables.

Denise Dixon, program coordinator for the Idaho Farmers Market Association, says the Double Up Food Bucks is a win for families on SNAP.

"So you're not only introducing more fruits and vegetables to the most needed population and the most vulnerable population, you're also introducing it to their children, your next generation," she points out.

In 2015, SNAP served a monthly average of more than 195,000 Idahoans. More than three-quarters of recipients are families with children.

Farmers markets are being held the length of the state, from Bonners Ferry to Twin Falls.

Dixon notes fresh fruits and vegetables really are better for people's health than what they might find at the grocery store, where foods might be processed with additives like sugars and preservatives to increase their shelf life.

"There's some studies out there that say that by the time your fruits and vegetables get to the grocery store, some of them lose at least half or more of their nutritional value,” she states. “These farmers pick their crop the day of the market, so you can't get any fresher than that."

Dixon says it's the heart of the growing season right now, with practically every fruit and vegetable Idaho has to offer available, including apricots, peppers, plums, tomatoes and some varieties of the state's world famous potatoes.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID