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This post is sponsored by Taste The Local Difference, your resource for local food & farms.
September is Hunger Action Month, a national movement to raise awareness about hunger in the United States and the policies and systems that can combat it. This year, the efforts are even more pressing, especially in Michigan. Due to the global pandemic, Feeding America predicts Michigan’s statewide food insecurity rates will increase from 13.6% to 21% this year.
Communities in eastern Washtenaw County and Wayne County are predicted to be among the hardest hit. Food pantries and emergency food sites are feeling the impact of this increased need. In early summer, Food Gatherers, a Washtenaw county hunger relief agency, reported a 30-300% increase in people seeking assistance at their partner pantry sites. About 40% of these visitors had never sought support from a food pantry before.
While food pantries rise to this challenge, additional healthy food access options are necessary. Michigan’s farmers’ markets are key to filling this need. Across the state, farmers’ markets make fresh, local food affordable by accepting SNAP/EBT Bridge Cards and participating in DoubleUp Food Bucks. When shoppers purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with their Bridge Card at a participating Michigan farmers market, DUFB matches their purchase $1 for $1.
Currently, there is no limit on DUFB, so users can stretch their food assistance benefits even further. This means more healthy, fresh food for the shopper’s family and increased income for small local food businesses.
It is currently peak farmers market season and there is an abundance of good food. Shopping at the farmers market with SNAP benefits is easy. SNAP users can visit the market information booth to swipe their Bridge Card to receive tokens that can be used on a variety of delicious seasonal produce, proteins, and baked goods. SNAP/EBT Bridge Card-eligible farmers market
? Baked goods
? Maple Syrup
? Food producing plants
Shoppers can find farmers’ markets in their communities that accept SNAP by going here and can plan their purchases by viewing this seasonality chart. SNAP/EBT benefits and Double Up Food Bucks can be used year-round at participating farmers’ markets and retail stores.
If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, apply for SNAP/EBT by calling the Food and Other Resources (F.O.R.) Helpline 888-544-8773 or visiting https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/.