By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager
Have you heard of the FRE$H Savings Program? The Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) was selected as one of 10 counties in Tennessee to participate in the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI), a provision of the 2014 USDA Farm Bill, to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients increase their purchase of fruits and vegetables.
FRE$H Savings is the official name of this program, and the JCFM is excited to be among the farmer markets chosen again this season. Wholesome Wave and the AARP Foundation are partnering through FINI to oversee the implementation of the program, providing signage, flyers, and support. The FRE$H Savings program offers matching dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Market. When a SNAP customer swipes their EBT card for $20 or less, they will get an additional matching dollar amount in FRE$H Savings tokens to spend at the market. This “double dollar” incentive is good up to a $20 match each transaction which translates to $20 worth of FREE fruits and vegetables for those in need.
During May and June, EBT customers who are new to the Farmers Market will also receive a complementary planter complete with potting soil and their choice of 3 varieties of seeds to start their own mini-garden at home! This incentive program is a part of the grant received through the East Tennessee Foundation’s Johnson County Community Fund. The Garden Barn, R&D Campground, and Tri-State Growers have also donated to this program. We are very grateful for the businesses and organizations that make these opportunities available to our community. The Johnson County Farmers Market 2018 outdoor season begins Saturday, May 5 at 9 a.m. until 12. We have a new location this year, so watch for the signs to lead you to Ralph Stout Park. Until then, you can still get local farm fresh produce; home-baked bread, pasture raised chicken eggs and many other local items at our Winter Market located in the basement of the Welcome Center. We look forward to serving you because FRESH IS BEST.