Coupons + cooking = nutritious

Coupon program makes it easier to afford produce at farmers market

Coupons for those who have trouble affording produce are helping people get these items at the farmers market this year.

President of the Skeena Valley Farmers Market Norm Frank said the BC Farmers Market Association started the coupon program and farmers market decided to do it this year too.

“We went whole hog this year and it’s been very successful,” said Frank, adding that it starts with Kalum Community Schools Society.

Agatha Jedrzejczyk and farmers market vice-president Lynne Christiansen are handling the program here.

To get coupons, people have to take a cooking seminar with Agatha to learn how to cook vegetables properly and then they get coupons, said Frank.

“People are buying fresh vegetables and hopefully we’re trying to get people to eat properly especially when they’re low income,” he said.

The provincial government put money into the coupon program that’s sent to each farmers market, he added.

Then the vendors can turn in their coupons they’ve collected so vendors can get reimbursed.

And the coupons, which are either $3 ro $5, are useable for vegetables and fruits, nuts, eggs and dairy, said Frank.

“Its working out very well and we actually have a lot more cash on hand at the market there because at the end of the market, during the last 15 or 20 minutes, vendors [using the coupons] may have 25 or 30 coupons to redeem and get cash,” he said.

A few weeks ago, the farmers market had to write a check to a vendor when it ran out of cash for the coupons and that was using up about $300 or $350, he said.

“Some weekends I think we’ve had to have $500, or lately anyway,” he added.

Frank added that the program is likely to expand next year.