FARMERS MARKET BRIDGING THE HUNGER GAP

Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.
Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.

By Judi Currie
jcurrie@fosters.com

November 13. 2015 4:21PM

SOMERSWORTH – While living in a downtown area with a selection of restaurants and convenience stores works well for some, it can be a challenge when trying to feed a family on a budget.

Without transportation, even a vibrant downtown can become a food desert when it comes to accessing healthy affordable meals.

That is where the Somersworth Farmers Market comes in. Held every Thursday at Goodwin Community Health on Route 108, the market brought fresh food to a more accessible location.

Liz Clark, Somersworth Farmers Market Manager and Community Health Improvement Coordinator for Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) said when the market wrapped up its first season at the end of September, it met its goal of improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food.

“One of the great things about the market is that we were bringing the fresh produce to an area with a bus stop right out front,” Clark said. “So that helped to increase healthy eating.”

This season, SNAP/EBT members accessed a total of $5,799 to spend at the farmers market, $4,531 of which was distributed as free incentives through programs like market match and close the gap.

SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program where benefits are now accessed using an EBT card; which works like a debit card.

Through the partnership with Seacoast Eat Local, SNAP/EBT users could get a weekly market match of up to $10.

“If they spent $10 on their card, they received an additional $10 free to spend on fruits and vegetables each week at the market.” Clark said. “Additionally, they received $20 free to spend on food at the market during the last week of the month as part of a program called ‘Close the Gap.’”

Clark said Close the Gap aimed to bridge the gap between the time recipients ran out of benefits until the card was refilled at the beginning of the next month.

“For many, the benefit is not enough to cover what the average person needs for food,” Clark said.

The success of the market was made possible by financial support from the Public Health Network and Stonewall Kitchen, partnership with Seacoast Eat Local and many volunteers from Goodwin Community Health.

Clark said the WIC program, administered through Goodwin Community Health, really helped drive customers to the market by letting them know about the matching programs and how far their benefits would go.

“I was really excited when I heard we would be accepting SNAP/EBT, but seeing it happen at the market really put it in perspective for me how important it was.” Clark said. “On more than one occasion, I saw participants cry when the received the Close the Gap funds.”

The Somersworth Farmers Market is an initiative of the SCPHN and Goodwin Community Health to address the obesity/nutrition public health priority as identified by the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council.

The Somersworth Farmers Market is looking forward to bringing back the market next year from June through September. Clark said all of the vendors have already committed to return.

This Fosters article can be found at: http://fdweb.sx.atl.publicus.com/article/20151113/news/151119678

SOMERSWORTH FARMERS MARKET IMPROVING ACCESS TO FRESH PRODUCE AND HEALTHY FOOD

Somersworth Farmers MarketSOMERSWORTH, October 29, 2015 — The Somersworth Farmers Market wrapped up its first season on Thursday, September 24 and met its goal of improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food.

This season, SNAP/EBT members accessed a total of $5,799 to spend at the farmers market, $4,531 of which was distributed as free incentives through programs like market match and close the gap.

Through the partnership with Seacoast Eat Local the Somersworth Farmers Market provided SNAP/EBT users with a weekly market match of up to $10.  If a SNAP/EBT recipient spent $10 on their SNAP/EBT card they received an additional $10 free to spend on fruits and vegetables each week at the market. Additionally, all SNAP/EBT customers received $20 free to spend on food at the market during the last week of the month as part of a program called “Close the Gap.” Close The Gap aimed to bridge the gap between the time that SNAP/EBT recipients ran low or out of benefits, and when their EBT cards were refilled.

The Somersworth Farmers Market was an initiative of the Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) and Goodwin Community Health to address the obesity/nutrition public health priority identified by the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council. Improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food were the goals of the Somersworth Farmers Market that completed its first season last month.

The success of the market was made possible by financial support from the Public Health Network and Stonewall Kitchen, partnership with Seacoast Eat Local and many volunteers from Goodwin Community Health.  Additionally, the WIC program administered through Goodwin Community Health made a significant impact on the success of this market by assisting us in outreaching to its service population of SNAP/EBT users.

Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.
Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.

“Making such a positive impact in our community during our inaugural season of this market is remarkable. The SNAP/EBT numbers truly reflect the need in the community and the success we had in reaching our goals of reducing disparities and increasing access to healthy food,” said Liz Clark, Somersworth Farmers Market Manager and Community Health Improvement Coordinator, Strafford County Public Health Network

The Somersworth Farmers Market is looking forward to bringing back the market next year from June through September.  More information can be found Goodwinch.org/community/farmers-market or on the Somersworth Farmers Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SomersworthFarmersMarket

More information about the Strafford County Public Health Network can be found at www.scphn.org

STONEWALL KITCHEN DONATES TO THE SOMERSWORTH FARMERS MARKET!

Posted Jul. 9, 2015 at 3:15 AM

SOMERSWORTH — Goodwin Community Health is pleased to announce that local specialty food manufacturer and retailer Stonewall Kitchen has generously donated $2,500 to sponsor The Somersworth Farmers Market.

The Market has partnered with Seacoast Eat Local to be able to accept SNAP/EBT cards. Through this partnership, a matching program is available every week to all SNAP recipients. The matching program doubles SNAP purchases dollar for dollar, for up to $10, allowing SNAP recipients to double their spending power.

Additionally, the Somersworth Farmer’s Market is also now participating in “Close the Gap.” Close The Gap aims to bridge the gap between the time that SNAP customers run low or out of benefits and when their EBT cards are refilled. All SNAP customers can attend the last market of the month and will receive $20 free to spend on food.

“We are thankful that the new Somersworth Market is off to a great start and attracting the support of a community leader like Stonewall Kitchen, and a partnership with an organization like Seacoast Eat Local” says Liz Clark, Somersworth Farmers Market manager. ”Together we are making an impact on creating more access to healthy, locally grown food.”

The Somersworth Farmers Market runs every Thursday through Sept. 24 from 3-6 p.m. at Goodwin Community Health, 311 Route 108 Somersworth.

For more information, please visit www.stonewallkitchen.com and www.seacoasteatlocal.org.

This Fosters article can be found at: http://www.fosters.com/article/20150709/NEWS/150709411/