Editorial by Catherine Goldman
If you are a SNAP user and tried to use your food benefits at any of the 2 farmers markets here in Fall River, you will have been as disappointed as I that you cannot participate. Individual farms have to enroll and there is a lot of paperwork involved. This really puts SNAP reliant consumers, like myself, at a disadvantage to buy locally grown produce fresh from a farm. Not only is this bad for us but also our inability to support these local businesses. We also cannot participate in the new HIP program that is being rolled out this year. To encourage healthy eating, HIP allows SNAP consumers to match what they spend on produce from local purveyors with an instant credit back to their EBT cards. The amount designated monthly is dependent on the number of people in the household.
Yesterday morning, I tried to utilize this program at the farmers market at Ruggles Park. I was disappointed and angry to learn from the representatives at Project Bread, that there were no farmers taking EBT nor participating in the HIP program at the Farmers Markets in Fall River! The closest place is the Healthy Futures Farm on route 177, in Westport. This of course is unreachable by public transportation! But all is not hopeless and lost. By blind luck, I stumbled upon someone selling produce from their farm in Fall River that takes SNAP and is participating in HIP! However, he is not at the two farmers markets! On Wednesday afternoons from 2pm – 6pm there is a gentleman set up under a white tent at Charlton Hospital parking lot by the front entrance on Highland avenue. So go spend your SNAP benefits there, and eat healthy!