$ 600,000 Accessible by FreshConnect to Veterans and Others for Entry to Wholesome Meals | farm

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced last week that more than $ 600,000 is available to help low-income families enrolled with SNAP, as well as veterans, service members, and their immediate families who attend FreshConnect Checks Participate program to help.

The program increases the purchasing power of food stamps used at the participating farmers’ markets. To date, more than 257,000 checks have been issued to 82 locations across the state to help eligible New Yorkers access healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, while boosting agriculture.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Our farmers’ markets have seen increased visitor numbers, especially last year during the pandemic when more New Yorkers came to their local markets to buy their groceries. We want to make sure all beneficiaries know that they are taking advantage of the FreshConnect Checks program and can take advantage of this benefit to purchase healthy fruits and vegetables. The program offers these healthy alternatives and helps farmers expand their reach into new markets. “

The FreshConnect Checks program encourages recipients to take advantage of their SNAP benefits at participating farmers’ markets. The program offers $ 2 incentive vouchers for every $ 5 in SNAP benefits issued in the marketplace, increasing the purchasing power of SNAP consumers by 40 percent. In 2020, more than $ 2.9 million in SNAP sales were made in farmers markets across the state. A full list of participating markets can be found here.

$ 200,000 FreshConnect checks are available back to veterans, service members, and their immediate family members in all New York State Division of Veterans ‘Services offices throughout the state and in Division of Veterans’ Services outreach programs throughout New York State is available on a “first come, first served” principle. There are no income restrictions, combat service requirements, or length of service requirements for a veteran, service member, or eligible family member to receive an allocation of FreshConnect Checks. Each Eligible Veteran, Service Member, or Family Member will receive FreshConnect checks valued at $ 20 for redemption at farmers markets.

DVS and the Ministry of Agriculture and Markets have teamed up every year since 2014 to distribute FreshConnect checks to veterans, service members and their immediate family members. In 2019, the program received national recognition when it received the prestigious Pillars of Excellence Award from the Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, who recognized the program’s innovations and nationwide achievements.

Division of Veterans’ Services Assistant Director Joel Evans said, “Our FreshConnect-Checks partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Markets has become one of New York State’s most popular offerings for veterans, military and military personnel over the past seven years Military families developed. Food insecurity is hitting veterans across our country at alarmingly high rates, and the FreshConnect program is one of the ways we are joining forces to address this issue here in New York. We look forward to another successful FreshConnect season. “

Temporary and Disabled Aid Commissioner Mike Hein said: “This program is a welcome relief at a time when so many families and local businesses continue to feel the economic toll caused by the pandemic. By increasing the purchasing power of food benefits in farmers’ markets, we are encouraging SNAP households to explore healthy food options while generating much-needed income for local farms and farms. “

Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers’ Market Federation of New York, said, “The FreshConnect programs are helping our markets achieve the goal of bringing healthy food to everyone in their community. It is also building sales for our state’s farmers and food producers. We believe the FreshConnect program is a win-win for everyone. “

FreshConnect-funded projects aim to give New York farmers a boost and ensure that all New Yorkers regardless of income have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and are encouraged to accept other nutritional incentives such as WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs .

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