This just in!
This just in!
The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market kicks off its 2017 season on Saturday July 1 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE 49506. The market will operate Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Nov. 11. Market events commence July 8 with a visit from the Grand Rapids Fire Department Residential Safety Program and an Urban Foraging Workshop (noon to 2 p.m.). A new addition to the market, once a month it will host area artists at its Arts Market tent.
“As market managers for the past seven years, Our Kitchen Table has well established the market at MLK Jr. Park,” says Lisa Oliver-King, executive director of Our Kitchen Table. “Neighborhood residents have enjoyed having access to fresh, local produce and cottage foods within walking distance.”
The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market warmly welcomes patrons using Bridge cards (SNAP), WIC Project Fresh, Cash Value Benefits, Summer EBT, Double Up Food Bucks and debit cards. When using the Double Up Food Bucks program, patrons purchasing Michigan produce at select farmers’ markets with Bridge cards receive $1 for each $1 dollar spent, up to $20 each market visit.
The Market has an exciting line-up of market activities on its 2017 calendar. In addition, community organizations will be on hand with information, activities and services. The following events will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Friday market and 12 to 2 p.m. at the Saturday market:
Cooking Demos: July 22, Aug. 19, Sept. 23, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4.
Arts Market Tent: July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 16 and Oct. 21
The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market will host two important community partners Friday. The Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center (CYC) provides Grand Rapids kids with free after-school creative writing programs. They will share information about their programs and host two hands-on activities. Kids will be able to make their own little books and participate in a black-out poetry activity.
The Grand Rapids Fire Department Residential Safety Program will share information on how homeowners can access free in home fire safety assessments, free smoke alarm upgrades and installations and one-on-one fire safety consultations specific to the residence.
Now that the harvest season is full swing, market vendors have even more delicious fresh, local produce for sale. In addition, patrons will find Watkins products and cottage foods like popcorn and cookies.
The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market warmly welcomes patrons using Bridge cards (SNAP), WIC Project Fresh, Cash Value Benefits, Summer EBT, Double Up Food Bucks and debit cards. When using the Double Up Food Bucks program, patrons purchasing Michigan produce at select farmers’ markets with Bridge cards receive $1 for each $1 dollar spent, up to $20 each market visit. The market takes place Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE 49506. This is the last Friday market of the season. The Saturday market runs through mid-November.
Neighbors love walking to the market, picking up fresh, locally grown produce and chatting with each other and the market vendors and staff. Don’t be afraid to ask how to use the fruits and veggies you pick up!
The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market warmly welcomes patrons using Bridge cards (SNAP), Double Up Food Bucks ,WIC Project Fresh, Cash Value Benefits, Summer EBT and debit cards. If you make a purchase with a Bridge Card,you get $1 for every $1 you spend to buy more Michigan produce (up to $20 each visit).
When you use a SNAP Bridge Card to shop at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market, the amount of money that you spend is matched with Double Up Food Bucks. Double Up Food Bucks can then be used to buy fruits and vegetables that have been grown in Michigan—you can “double up” up to $20 per day.
You need a valid Bridge Card with food assistance benefits—and you only need to sign up only once, and it takes less than a minute. Our Kitchen Table is signing people up for Double Up Food Bucks at the Market.
You can earn up to $20 per market day in credits by using their Bridge Card to buy any approved foods with any participating vendor. Throughout Kent County, credits are stored automatically on a shopper’s Bridge Card.
You do not need to use your Double Up Food Bucks on the same day you get them. You can spend credits on fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan with participating vendors. In Grand Rapids, you can also take advantage of the Double Up Food Bucks program at the Fulton Street Farmers’ Market, YMCA Farmers’ Market and Veggie Van, Downtown Market farmers’ market and the Healthy Street Farmers’ Market.
The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is open:
Both market sites feature local, chemical free produce and also warmly welcome SNAP/EBT, Kent County Health Department coupons, WIC & Sr. ProjectFresh as well as cash and debit cards.
When you use a SNAP Bridge Card to shop for food at a participating farmers’ market, the amount of money that you spend is matched with Double Up Food Bucks. You can use these to buy fruits and vegetables that have been grown in Michigan (maximum $20 per day). If you do not spend all of your Double Up Food Bucks, you may save them for another day. The last day the program operates this year is Oct. 31.
The last day you can spend them at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is Saturday Oct. 26. The market takes place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gerald R Ford school, Madison Avenue just south of Franklin Street. (The Garfield Park Friday Farm Stand has already closed for the season.)
If you have Double Up Food Bucks leftover or want to take advantage of the program before it ends for the season, you can also visit other area participating farmers’ markets through the end of the month. Click here for a complete list of those markets and their open hours.
GRAND RAPIDS — When officials at local farmers markets signed on with a program aimed at improving access to healthy foods while boosting the West Michigan agricultural economy, they had no idea what they were in for.
In its first year as a true statewide program, the Double Up Food Bucks program sponsored by the Ann Arbor-based Fair Food Network has proven more successful here than nearly anywhere else in the state.
Begun in 2009 with five farmers markets in the Detroit area, the program offers recipients of the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp program, double the purchasing power for up to $20 worth of Michigan-grown fresh fruits and vegetables when purchased at local farmers markets.
The program offers those who qualify up to $20 in matching tokens to pay for fresh, healthy foods, funded through grants and donations from private companies and foundations. The project is aimed at improving access to healthy fresh fruits and vegetables and helping to reduce the risk of diet-related chronic illness.
“We were overwhelmed literally and figuratively by the response that we had to this program,” said Christine Helms-Maletic, Fulton Street Farmers Market development project manager. “It was extremely successful.
“We had to scramble to get volunteers in there to man those machines that give out the tokens.”
Statistics for last year show the five participating farmers markets in Kent County racking up 8,750 transactions under the program, with combined sales under Double Up Food Bucks reaching $136,062.
That compares to the 10,297 transactions and $159,060 in sales at Detroit’s Eastern Market. Marcia Rapp, vice president of programs at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the program’s largest West Michigan supporter, said the organization is pleased with the results of its $150,000 in backing last year.
“We’ve been seeing reports coming out comparing ourselves to the Eastern Market in Detroit where it was wildly successful among farmers, growers and users,” Rapp said. “We’re almost neck-and-neck in numbers and you have to consider we have a much smaller population here.
“We’ve had a really good acceptance from the local growers, too,” Rapp added. “It’s new but they’re seeing the benefits and more and more are signing up each week.”
Melissa Harrington, manager at Fulton Street Farmers market, said counterparts at four other markets in Kent County also enjoyed the program’s success. He said the program created awareness for the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids’ inaugural farmers market last year and helped publicize the Plainfield Township’s market acceptance of Bridge Cards for the first time.
“It increased exponentially both the awareness that we accept Bridge Cards and accessibility for low-income customers to nutritious, healthy foods.” Harrington said. “Everybody said it was very successful and I don’t think any of us anticipated how successful it actually was.”
The program has now spread to 54 markets in places like Menominee, Battle Creek, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Bay City and Kalamazoo. Rachel Chadderdon Bair, program manager for Fair Food Network, said her group has funding for the program through 2013 but hopes to extend it or sway policy makers to address issues of accessibility to healthy foods in future legislation.
“We have funding for two more market seasons, but we’re always seeking funds to bolster the program and extend it,” Chadderdon Bair said. “We’re actively involved with trying to shape the next farm bill and hope there will be a healthy food incentive built into food assistance programs in the future.”