Assistance at Dale City Farmers Market is largest in Virginia
- Sep 23, 2020 Updated Sep 23, 2020
A program to match the money that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients spend at the Dale City Farmers Market provided nearly $80,000 in incentives in nearly 1,500 transactions last year.
The program was established five years ago and has become the largest of its kind in the state, said Elizabeth Borst, executive director of Virginia Community Food Connections, which runs the program, known as SNAP, and the Virginia Fresh Match Program.
“It is more successful than we dreamed,” Borst said. Last year, the program provided $78,876 in SNAP and Virginia Fresh Match incentives in 1,482 transactions at the Dale City market.
“Without this program, some low-income families may not get all the fruits and vegetables they need for a healthy diet,” Borst said. “The premise is that when people can afford to buy healthy fruits and vegetables, they will do so. This program provides that bridge between the foods people want and the food they are able to afford.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dale City Farmers Market has temporarily moved to the parking lot of Pfitzner Stadium at 7 County Complex Court in Woodbridge, which offers more space for social distancing.
The money for the matching program comes from a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, enabling participating farmers markets to match up to $30 that each SNAP recipient spends. Other local partners, like Potomac Health Foundation, support the program.
“On any given Sunday, we’re running thousands of dollars in SNAP and incentives through that market, and it’s beneficial to those families in a direct way,” Borst said. “It’s also beneficial to the farmers. It is a thriving community marketplace.”