June 29, 2011
Programs offer access to farmers markets, healthy food, to more King County residents
Ten farmers markets in King County now accepting EBT/WIC benefits
Card-carrying shoppers now have more ways to use their credit, debit, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) food stamp cards for fresh produce at 10 farmers markets in King County. Participants receiving Women, Infants and Children (WIC) monthly checks now can also shop farmers markets for fruits and vegetables.
“Farmers markets offer some of the freshest, healthiest food available, and we want to make that nutrition available to everyone,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Through a new partnership with the state departments of Health, and Social and Health Services, low income residents now have more choices for where they can buy their food.”
This first-of-its-kind project in Washington makes it possible for farmers to sell their food directly to shoppers with these two federal food assistance benefits.
Until now, it has been difficult for low-income shoppers to shop at markets because the markets and farmers did not have the ability to accept EBT food stamp cards, and the state did not allow farmers to accept regular monthly WIC checks for fruits and vegetables.
That’s all changing under a new program that will give 70,000 food stamp recipients and 20,000 women and children on WIC in south King County the opportunity to use their benefits at farmers markets.
The Farmers Market Access Project, part of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, received a grant to partner with the state to adapt the WIC program for use at farmers markets, provide training to farmers, market managers and WIC staff.
Grant funds are being used to help more than 50 farmers effectively participate in the WIC/EBT programs and develop educational and marketing materials for the Auburn International, Burien, Columbia City, Des Moines, Federal Way, Georgetown, Kent, Madrona, Maple Valley and Renton farmers markets.
“With our local and state partners we are increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for residents with the greatest need in our County,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “At the same time, we are supporting our local farmers so they can bring healthy foods to our neighborhoods for years to come.”
The project is part of Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a broad Public Health program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address obesity and tobacco prevention through changes to policies and systems.
To find the nearest farmers market in King County, visit http://www.pugetsoundfresh.org. Learn more about CPPW at http://www.kingcounty.gov/health/CPPW.
Pugest Sound Fresh
Communities Putting Prevention to Work
King County Water and Land Resources
Public Health - Seattle & King County