Many low-income families and seniors on the Sunshine Coast will receive extra help getting fresh, local food on the table this summer, thanks to a new provincial coupon program announced on July 4 by Health Minister Mike de Jong.
This investment of $2 million was granted to the B.C. Association Farmers’ Markets to provide lower-income families and seniors $15 and $12 a week, respectively, to buy local produce from their neighborhood farmers’ market. The program is to be run throughout B.C. over three years with plans to grow and expand in each year.
On the Sunshine Coast the Bellies and Babies Program, Sechelt Health Unit, Sechelt Indian Band and the Sechelt Seniors’ Activity Centre have partnered with the Sechelt Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market to provide 50 families and 10 seniors with coupons and nutrition and skill-building workshops throughout the 14 weeks of the program. The coupons are be used to purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, meats and seafood, dairy products and eggs. The skill-building workshops are intended to increase knowledge about cooking, preserving and growing local foods and create lasting connections with local farmers.
Not only is this program helping families and seniors, it will also benefit farmers.
On the Sunshine Coast, $10,000 will go directly back into the community that will help support local farms.
Organizers hope the program will increase access to healthy, local food and dispel the myth that farmers’ markets are only for people with extra money.