August 19, 2014Double your SNAP dollars program a hit at Berlin's Farmers Market
By Edith Tucker
BERLIN — "At least a few hundred markets across the country are taking advantage of programs like Wholesome Wave that double the value of food stamps at farmers' markets, and that number will soar when the Agriculture Department's Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program kicks in, contributing as much as $20 million," points out food columnist Mark Bittman in a "New York Times" op-ed published on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
Thanks to Wholesome Wave, Berlin hosts one of the farmers' markets that offers the Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) that gives customers a monetary incentive when they spend their federal nutrition benefits at a participating market, allowing SNAP recipients to more readily buy fresh, healthy locally grown fruits and vegetables directly from small-scale farmers.
DVCP has caught on quickly, explained WREN executive director Marilinne Cooper at Thursday's afternoon market.
"The Berlin farmers' market has achieved the second highest use of the Wholesome-Wave-sponsored program in the state, with only Manchester topping its record," Cooper said. The paperwork is onerous, she said, but the results gratifying.