The Grand Forks Farmers’ Market (GFFM) hopes to expand its nutrition stamp program this spring, increasing cash flow for local food producers while delivering food to those who need it most, according to spokesperson Doug Zorn. .
For Zorn and everyone at GFFM, the program is about strengthening regional food security.
It works by giving low-income families, pregnant women and seniors $21 in coupons per week throughout the growing season that can only be spent on fresh, locally produced food at the Gyro Park Farmer’s Market. Meanwhile, the cash value of the coupons goes to the market food vendors, spreading the profits all over the circle.
“In my opinion, Grand Forks is not a place where you will find that there is a lot of disposable income. We have a lot of retirees living here,” Zorn told The Gazette.
Food prices are rising due to soaring inflation, which Zorn says “is why the food stamp program is so, so important this year.”
That was pretty big in 2021, according to GFFM records.
Last year’s program put food on the table for 79 Boundary Community Food Bank customers, 80% (63) of whom lived in Grand Forks. Coupons were also distributed to 48 Boundary Family Services customers, 83% (40) of whom called the city home.
Food producers like Valerie Rilkoff of Grand Forks Farms have also reaped the benefits of the program.
“The coupon program for the past few years has been a big help in keeping us and the (farmers’) market going,” Rilkoff wrote in a letter asking the city council to support the program. Rilkoff’s summer sales have nearly doubled since GFFM signed up for the program, she wrote.
The council listened, doubling its annual contribution from $1,500 in 2021 to $3,000 in 2022. That will help about 10 more families this spring and summer, Zorn said.
For more market information, visit the GFFM website at bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/market/grand-forks-farmers-market.
Farmers MarketsGrand Forks