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Carole James' statement on the farmers market nutrition coupon program

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Published on May 4, 2016

The B.C. farmers market nutrition coupon program has been a great success in my community. The program, built with community partners, makes local fresh food available to low-income expectant moms, families and seniors.
Funding is provided through HealthyFamilies B.C. in partnership with the B.C. Association of Farmers Markets and is available in 48 communities across B.C. Last year more than 3,000 households and over 9,000 British Columbians used this service.
In Victoria, the Moss Street Market and the Oaklands Sunset Market both participated, in partnership with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the Cridge Centre for the Family. This year the James Bay Market and the James Bay Community Project have been added to the program.
Program participants receive $15 in coupons per week for 16 weeks, redeemable from June to October to purchase fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, nuts and fresh herbs at local farmers markets.
The community partners often participate by offering skill-building activities such as cooking, meal planning and gardening classes. The participants have the opportunity to connect and be a part of their community at the farmers markets. This program also supports local farmers and keeps money in the local economy.
This year the program is at capacity and was not able to fund all of the participants requested. There are 137 families funded this year in greater Victoria, but 82 requests had to be turned down.
The B.C. farmers market nutrition coupon program has been well-received, and other community partners and other markets want to offer it as well. So I add my voice in the hope that funding for expansion will occur.
Thanks to those who've worked so hard to get this program up and running and make it such a success. It's improving nutrition for families in my community and improving lives.

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