- Author: Shannon A Klisch
Today several members of the CalFresh at Farmers Market Working Group attended the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors' meeting to accept the proclamation of August 6th -12th 2023 as SLO County Farmers Market Week. Supervisor Arnold read the proclamation and the remaining supervisors remarked on the importance of local agriculture to our community and the important connection between farmers markets and food assistance programs like CalFresh, Market Match and WIC.
Thank you to the Board of Supervisors for taking the time to recognize the importance of farmers markets to our county culture, livelihood, and vitality. Several board members specifically highlighted their support for programs that promote equitable access to local and healthy food, including the CalFresh and Market Match programs which are available at markets across our county. (To find a market near you, visit FMFinder.org)
Our CalFresh at Farmers Markets work group mission is to increase the use of CalFresh benefits at local farmers markets in order to support equitable access to healthy food and support for local farmers. Our work group includes five farmers market associations, representing ten markets throughout the county that accept CalFresh and offer the nutrition incentive Market Match. Additional partners include UC Cooperative Extension, the SLO Food Bank, County Departments of Social Services and Public Health and the Promotores Collaborative. Since 2017, our work group has helped to bring in over $600,000 in CalFresh and Market Match at local farmers markets.
Yet we know there is more work to do. There are many county residents out there who are struggling to put food on the table and who could qualify for CalFresh but are not aware of it (visit GetCalFresh.org for more info). We know there are people who currently receive CalFresh/EBT or P-EBT benefits but do not know that they can use their benefits and even get more money for fruits and vegetables with Market Match at many of our local markets.
On behalf of our working group partners, I invite everyone to come out to a farmers market near you - from Paso to Arroyo Grande during Aug 6th-12th to enjoy your local bounty, try using your CalFresh EBT/P-EBT card, and get to know your community and your farmers.
Additionally, the SLO Food System Coalition will host a social event on Monday Aug 7th at the Baywood Farmers Market from 3-4:30. We invite you to join us to learn about the Food System Coalition and to support your local farmers and food operators.
Thank you to our Board of Supervisors for the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of our farmers markets and the great work they are doing to support food access in our county.
Where can you use your CalFresh or WIC benefits? Visit FMFinder.org to find a market near you.
How? To use your CalFresh/EBT or P-EBT card at participating markets, look for the Information or Market Manager booth and a friendly staff person will help walk you through the process. You will want to have an idea of how much money you are going to spend so you can ask them to swipe your card for a specific dollar amount which will be debited from your CalFresh account. In addition, many markets will provide an extra $10 or $15 in Market Match tokens that you can spend on fresh fruits or vegetables at the market.
RESOLUTION PROCLAIMING AUGUST 6-12. 2023, AS
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY FARMERS MARKET WEEK
WHEREAS San Luis Obispo County farmers markets support the health of local residents by providing access to healthful, fresh, delicious, and local foods and agricultural products, and
WHEREAS farmers markets support small-to-medium, new and beginning, and veteran agricultural producers so they can sell their local agricultural products, generating revenue that supports the sustainability of local farms and the economic vibrance of rural communities nationwide, and
WHEREAS most farmers markets in San Luis Obispo County currently accept one or more federal supplemental nutrition assistance programs such as CalFresh, WIC, and/or Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs as forms of payment, and many also offer additional market incentives to increase the purchasing power of community members with limited incomes, and
WHEREAS San Luis Obispo County encourages all county farmers markets to accept CalFresh and other federal nutrition program as payment so that local farmers and ranchers can expand their customer base and all residents can benefit from the diverse agricultural products produced in the county, and
WHEREAS farmers markets in San Luis Obispo County help foster community connectedness and resilience by bringing together neighbors and farmers, serving as a community gathering space, encouraging tourism, and playing a role in educating community members on our local food system, and
WHEREAS farmers markets directly facilitate the selling and purchasing of local fruits and vegetables and other agricultural products and thus support the Vision of the County of San Luis Obispo as a healthy and prosperous community, and
WHEREAS San Luis Obispo County recognizes the importance of expanding agricultural marketing opportunities that assist and encourage the next generation of farmers and ranchers; building community connections and health through direct farm to consumer encounters in our communities; and supporting access to farmers markets for people on limited incomes through increasing the number of markets that accept CalFresh and other food benefit programs;
NOW, THEREFORE, to further awareness of farmers markets' contributions to San Luis Obispo County life, we, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, do hereby proclaim the week of August 6-12, 2023, as San Luis Obispo County Farmers Market Week, in conjunction with the observance of National Farmers Market Week. I call upon San Luis Obispo County residents to celebrate farmers markets with appropriate observance and activities.