Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia food bucks are growing thanks to a major investment from the province’s Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
Nova Scotia is investing $ 350,000 in the Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program to help low-income Nova Scotia households purchase fresh, healthy, locally produced food.
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“We are more than thrilled with this funding announcement,” said Justin Cantafio, Managing Director of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS).
“The growth of this program will allow us to build on the incredible success that we have already achieved. Through this program, we promote community inclusion, stimulate our local economy and provide healthy, local food to those who need it most. It’s a win-win opportunity. “
FMNS has now expanded its Food Bucks program to 25 farmers’ markets across the province, up from 13 participating markets last year.
“We keep the money in the community and help grow the economy and help farmers grow their businesses,” said Cath Morley, neighborhood produce coordinator at the Halifax Brewery Market.
“At the same time, it helps families who have difficulty feeding themselves. “
FMNS is working with community organizations that identify families in need to distribute Food Dollars and will support more than 400 households this season.
“It’s a common currency used here, so when someone spends that currency at a farmer’s or vendor’s stand, there’s no way to tell who that person is, or if they’re accessing to that money through the program or not, ”Morley said.
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The program not only helps households, but it also stimulates the market economy and also helps farmers and vendors.
“It gives more incentive for people to come to the farmer’s market and spend the money here and buy fresh food and then the farmers can sell more,” said Emily teBogt, who runs TeBogt’s Produce & Meat.
“Just bringing more people to the farmers market is great. “
Getting more people into the market is one thing, but the additional level of government support is helping the agriculture industry a lot.
“Anything they can do to promote, support and support Farmers Markets is a very good thing,” said Owen Roberts, farmer and owner of Four Seasons Farm. “For them, it’s not only about feeding people healthier foods, but also supporting farmers and supporting jobs in our province.
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The FMNS says it is actively expanding its fundraising efforts to continue growing the food bucks program and says support is more important than ever, due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Supporting community organizations in their efforts to increase food security is not only a responsibility, but a priority for this government,” said Premier Iain Rankin.
“The Farmers’ Market of Nova Scotia has been a leader in creating initiatives to improve food literacy in our communities. It is essential that everyone has access to good nutrition and healthy food choices. “
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