June 8, 2023

The newly launched Fresh2You initiative in New York State’s FreshConnect program is designed to offset post-pandemic reductions in Supplemental Diet Help Program (SNAP) advantages. It’s concurrently geared towards serving to households in want and supporting native farmers’ markets. 

On Wednesday, April 12, governor Kathy Hochul introduced the Fresh2You program, which can present SNAP-eligible New Yorkers with a dollar-for-dollar match on wholesome meals at native farmers’ markets, together with on produce, dairy, eggs, fish and meats. Members in this system shall be supplied with $2 checks for each $2 spent via SNAP, a rise within the preliminary FreshConnect initiative. of $2 for each $5 spent.

Two Ulster County farmers’ markets leaders, Alexis Nigro, operations supervisor with the Kingston farmers’ market, and Masha Zager, a committee member of the Saugerties farmers’ market, praised this system enlargement. 

FreshConnect can be accessible to veterans and present service members and their rapid households, with veterans eligible to obtain $50 in FreshConnect coupons via the NYS Division of Veterans’ Providers. This system is run by the NYS Division of Agriculture and Markets, increasing entry to contemporary, wholesome meals to underserved communities throughout the state.

“New York has taken important steps to develop sturdy, mutually-beneficial relationships between native farmers and the communities they feed,” Hochul stated in her press launch.

The Fresh2You initiative was touted within the governor’s press launch by Diane Eggert, govt director of the Farmers’ Market Federation of New York. 

“This offers [consumers] an amazing increase to their shopping for energy and encourages them to buy immediately with farmers on the many farmers markets throughout the state,” Eggert stated. “This offers this system a double profit by aiding these with SNAP advantages to eat a extra wholesome eating regimen wealthy in native meals, whereas on the similar time it boosts the gross sales of meals grown and produced by native farmers, serving to to maintain native agriculture.”

There are greater than 400 farmers’ markets, 250 farmstands and ten cellular markets throughout New York State, with every serving as a neighborhood market the place shoppers and farmers can come collectively.

Alexis Nigro of the Kingston farmers’ market lauded the plan this week, noting that the market was already geared up to deal with the FreshConnect program.

“That is actually thrilling for lots of people throughout the market house, each for SNAP prospects and individuals who use these providers, in addition to all of our distributors and farmers,” stated Nigro. “As a result of the extra those who come to the market and the more cash that’s spent on the market, it’s going to assist help our native farmers and our native meals financial system.”

The Kingston Farmers’ Market runs indoors on the Outdated Dutch Church at 272 Wall Road each different Saturday, with the final winter market scheduled for April 22. Starting on Could 6, it is going to be open each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. via November 18 within the county courthouse parking zone at 285 Wall Road. 

Nigro stated many SNAP-eligible prospects on the Kingston market weren’t conscious of the FreshConnect program, and it’s been a welcome shock to a lot of them. 

“They wish to take out $20 in SNAP [funds], and we find yourself giving them greater than that — and, , nobody’s going to disclaim that,” she stated. “So it actually will have an effect on all of our SNAP prospects, which is superior.”

Masha Zager of the Saugerties market was additionally enthusiastic concerning the Fresh2You initiative. “FreshConnect has at all times been a invaluable profit for our neighborhood and our farmers, and the Fresh2You initiative will make it much more invaluable and vital, particularly in a 12 months when SNAP advantages are being diminished,” Zager stated.

The weekly Saugerties farmers’ market will open on Saturday, Could 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 115 Essential Road within the parking zone throughout the road from Cahill Elementary Faculty.