A Vendor with SNAP
As both a customer that receives SNAP benefits and utilizes the Virginia Fresh Match program, and a farmers market vendor, Rose has a unique perspective on how the VFM program benefits children, families, farmers, and the community.
Rose has been using her SNAP benefits at the farmers market for almost three years. As a single mother of 4 growing children, she explains that “it has made a big difference in how I am able to shop and feed my family. At the farmers market, I use SNAP tokens to purchase the reasonably priced but higher quality meats, and all of the matching tokens go towards buying fresh vegetables. Using my benefits at the market has been a big-budget in savings, significantly increasing the amount of produce I can afford, and everyone is eating better.”
Rose works hard – she has a fulltime job and is taking college classes. She is also a vendor at Spotsylvania Farmers Market on the weekends, selling produce for a large regional fruit grower. She sees firsthand the value of the program from a farmer’s perspective. “The token program provides our business with a substantial amount of additional income that we would not otherwise receive.” She reiterates that for too many families, healthy produce is a luxury, and fruit is no exception.
The best part for Rose is seeing parents being able to introduce their children to fruit they couldn’t otherwise afford. “As a daycare teacher, I see many children who don’t eat any fruits or vegetables, often because they have never been exposed to them. When families can use the tokens to try new produce, and children discover how delicious freshly picked fruit can taste, it sets them up for a lifetime of good eating.” Rose is silent for a moment, then laughs, “I’ll never forget the first time I saw a child walking through the market eating a tomato like an apple – it made me so happy! This program is a win for families and a win for farmers. Please know that we count on it and appreciate your role in keeping it going. “