New program connects low-income families with farmers markets - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New program connects low-income families with farmers markets

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MADISO (WKOW)-- Dane County health providers and Madison city leaders are partnering with farmers markets to make fresh produce more accessible to low income families.

The Mad-Market Double Dollars program is the first of its kind in Wisconsin, but similar programs can be found in 25 states across the country.

Families who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP are eligible to receive a dollar for dollar match on all purchases at four participating Madison farmers markets. The incentive max out at $30 per family per visit.

"Good nutrition involves eating five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day," Saint Mary's Hospital President Frank Byrne says. "Our goal is that people will take advantage of this great program to achieve that nutritional objective."

The objective is to replace store-bought processed food with healthy locally grown produce. Health providers say the program will help to prevent several obesity-related medical conditions like type two diabetes.

The program officially starts on August 4th and runs through the end of October. Market organizers say it's already drawing interest from customers.

"I spoke with somebody today who is using their quest card and we let them know about the program. She was very excited and she was definitely planning to come back," North side farmers market board member Fiona Stoner says.

Dane county health providers have already set aside $8,000 for the program. They plan to donate more money and bring the program back next year if it's successful.

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