2017-07-13 / Community

Bridge Card holders can double their purchasing power at farmers markets

LANSING - As the weather warms and farmers markets open across the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) encourage families receiving food assistance benefits to head to their local market to purchase fresh food.

In addition to accepting Bridge Card payments, more than 140 farmers markets also participate in Double Up Food Bucks, which allows Bridge Card holders to get double their money for fruits and vegetables (up to $20 every market day), while supporting local growers.

For instance, if a family spends $10 in food assistance benefits at a participating farmers market they receive $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to buy locally grown produce.

According to the Michigan Farmers Market Association, SNAP/Bridge Cards are accepted at the Port Austin Farmers Market, and the market participates in the Double Up Food Bucks program, WIC Project Fresh and Market Fresh.

“We want to make sure that all Michiganders have access to healthy options,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “With more farmers markets accepting food assistance benefits in Michigan, we hope that everyone will be able to take advantage of these opportunities to explore their own community and purchase fresh foods from local vendors.”

Across Michigan, 164 farmers markets accept Bridge Cards that are loaded with food assistance benefits. To find a farmers market that accepts Bridge Cards, visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association Find a Farmers Market feature online at www.mifma.org/findafarmersmarket.

The site allows a search for a farmers market by city, county or day of the week. Narrow searches based on the food assistance benefits to be used while shopping - Bridge Card (food assistance only), Double Up Food Bucks, WIC Project FRESH, Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH or Hoophouses for Health.

“Every year, more farmers markets in Michigan are able to accept food assistance benefits, creating a win-winwin opportunity for the market, the vendors selling at the market, and the members of the market’s community,” said MIFMA Food Access Coordinator Sydney Debien. “Farmers markets that accept these benefits provide families with options to make the most of their food dollar.”

Temporary food assistance for eligible low-income families and individuals is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and is referred to as the Food Assistance Program in Michigan.

For more information, see www.michigan.gov/FoodAssistance.

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