Farmers Market Managers and SNAP participants mentioned the importance of the availability of match funds to help them thrive:
“I have seen an increase this year in our SNAP usage and have talked with many who have lost their well-paying jobs and literally had their lives turned upside down. There is a family type of feeling to the Farmers Markets where they can purchase much needed food without feeling less than human. Pretty much all of them have said they feel strong again and with the SNAP program stretching their dollars they feel like providers for their families.”
– Manassas Farmers Market manager
“Not only has the matching program greatly impacted market customers, but it has also allowed vendors to continue to make sales and prosper during this economically difficult time. This season, 20% of vendor sales came from incentive programs at our markets. We are grateful to be able to offer a VFM program at our farmers markets because not only does it make our markets and local food more accessible, but it supports our local growers and economy.”
– Waynesboro Market Manager
“I am amazed. My new customers are up by 50% and half of those are customers with SNAP tokens. I have many older customers using SNAP for the first time who have lost jobs due to COVID. The program has been a great service in putting food on their tables!”
– Tom Weaver of Papa Weaver’s Pork.
Tom has been a Virginia pork producer for many years. This year, he reports that his wholesale markets virtually disappeared, and overall sales are 70% of prior years but expenses remain unchanged. At the farmers market, he’s seen a shift in customer base and a jump in SNAP sales.
“As a single mother with no income, if they didn’t do this and supply the match, we’d go hungry. We moved in with my mom and that takes care of housing, but I am still responsible for providing all the essentials for myself and my children. It helps so much. Without WIC, SNAP and the match, I would not have been able to make ends meet.”
– Sara, Spotsylvania Farmers Market