The statewide, nonprofit program helps financially struggling families eat healthy while supporting business for farmers. It doubles the money that people who receive SNAP Bridge Card assistance (food stamps) have to spend with local farmers at farmers markets. That means it’s helping federal dollars governed by the Farm Bill have much more of an impact on local farm economies than, say, the grocery section at Walmart.
The good news for food lovers in northwest Lower Michigan is that the bustling Traverse City farmers market has extended its two-day a week market season for four more weeks. And it’s also four more weeks before Congress gets back to work after the elections-and when House members ought to buck up and work to pass a Farm Bill that they let expire Sept 30.
A year ago, Kathie Maldonado couldn’t imagine eating food like this. Now, thanks to a new nonprofit program, Kathie can double her Bridge Card money up to $20 each shopping trip if she uses it to purchase groceries at participating farmers markets. That means $40 each visit for healthy food instead of just $20.