New funding for the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program will help improve access to healthy, locally grown foods for low-income British Columbians and pregnant women, while increasing the number of seniors and elders participating in the program.
The province has provided the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) approximately $12 million to support the program, which offers coupons to buy fresh, healthy, local food at BC farmers’ markets.
“Our government continues to support the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program, which is widely supported across the province,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The program encourages people to buy nutritious, locally grown food, which helps improve the health and well-being of British Columbians and creates a sense of community.
Of this funding, $3 million will be used to support approximately 1,750 additional senior households who join the program. The BCAFM will work with existing community partners to invite more seniors in need to participate as well as new organizations that serve seniors in the program.
Honey has also been added to the list of local foods available to people with coupons this year.
“This important program is helping more British Columbians access fresh, healthy produce that is grown and produced right in their own backyards and sold at our wonderful farmers markets,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Health. ‘Agriculture and Food. “By supporting increased program uptake for those most in need, we are helping more people achieve food security while strengthening our provincial food system and local food economies.
In 2022, the voucher program is expected to benefit over 8,824 households, reaching around 24,656 people. This is a more than seven-fold increase since the program launched in 2012. In 2019-20, the province provided $2.25 million to the program, which benefited 6,684 households and approximately 19 029 people.
“This fantastic program not only helps people and families access fresh, local food, it also supports local BC farmers and producers. It’s great to see that this year seniors in Vancouver and across the province will have even more opportunities to participate. said David Eby, MPP for Vancouver-Point Grey.
The BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program is a healthy eating initiative that supports farmers’ markets and enhances food security across British Columbia. In 2022, the coupon program will run from June 4 to December 18 at participating farmers’ markets in approximately 92 communities across British Columbia.
“Farmers Markets support better nutrition, as well as local entrepreneurs and producers across BC,” said Wylie Bystedt, President of BCAFM. “The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program is a great way to help people get world-class local produce in British Columbia while building a strong and sustainable agriculture sector that is proud to serve our local communities. We are grateful for the Department of Health’s continued investment in building healthy communities across the province. Through their investment, we see communities succeed in healthy initiatives and thriving farmers’ markets.
The program is run by community organizations across the province. In 2022, eligible recipients will receive $27 worth of coupons per week for 16 weeks to help them buy local foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy products, herbs, vegetables and vegetables. fruit, meat and fish. This is an increase of $6 from $21 per week in 2021.
BCAFM is helping provide consumers with locally grown and prepared food through a new online platform, with many farmers markets connected virtually to serve their communities.
Additionally, the province is working to support access and availability of local foods, particularly in rural, remote and Indigenous communities. In 2021-22, the Government of British Columbia provided $2.5 million to provincial health authorities to build community capacity to improve food access and availability through the Community Food Action Initiative. United Way BC also received $250,000 to develop and implement a new Food Infrastructure (FIG) grant program that has helped improve access to local food, build local food systems and communities are less impacted by food system disruptions caused by climate emergencies, such as wildfires and floods.
Building a climate-resistant cellar to store harvested food that communities can access in an emergency and purchasing canning equipment to preserve food hunted and gathered in a remote indigenous community are two examples. projects supported by the FIG program in 2021-22.
- The coupon program is available at all BC Farmers’ Markets that are members of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets and meet certain criteria.
- Farmers markets can visit the association’s website for more information, and applications for 2022 are still open.
- All BCAFM marketplaces currently operating in British Columbia have protocols in place to help ensure the health and safety of vendors, organizers and patrons.
- The BCAFM is a provincially registered not-for-profit society that represents over 145 farmers’ markets across the province.
- At member markets, the focus is on selling fresh food grown or prepared in British Columbia and vendors must make, cook or grow the products they sell.
Families, seniors and pregnant women can access the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program by contacting community partner agencies: https://bcfarmersmarket.org/coupon-program/where-it-operates/
For more information on the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program or to locate a farmers market in your community, visit: www.bcfarmersmarket.org
For more information on the BC Farmers’ Market Trail, visit: https://bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/
For more information on how local farmers and food businesses can access provincial supports, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AGRI0023-001022
British Columbia Farmers Markets Online Shopping Options: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AGRI0014-000569