Monday, July 22, 2013 - 4:55am
Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Meriter Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, UW Health, and Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. join Mayor Paul Soglin in announcing the MadMarket Double Dollars Program, a dollar for dollar "matching" program for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance benefits spent at participating farmers' markets. The program will begin Sunday, August 4, and run through the end of the October, at four participating markets.
SNAP, known as FoodShare in Wisconsin, provides millions of families and individuals the means to put adequate food on the table. According to the USDA, "it is the first line of defense against hunger and is a powerful tool for improving nutrition among low-income people." The average monthly benefit per person in SNAP in Wisconsin is the second lowest average monthly benefit by state in the country.
At least twenty-five states have programming that provides incentives to SNAP participants to shop at farmers' markets. Despite boasting some of the richest agriculture in the world and one of the highest rates of farmers' markets per capita, the State of Wisconsin has no such program.
"I am pleased and excited to make this announcement. I would like to thank our health care providers and Community Action Coalition for their generous contributions that made this vision a reality," said Mayor Paul Soglin.
With the state legislature and the federal government further restricting and cutting the SNAP program, it is important now more than ever to do what we can as a community to widen the safety net for those in need. If we can simultaneously provide an accessible, affordable way to deliver healthier food, while putting more dollars into the pockets of our regional farmers, it is a win-win for everyone the program touches.
The four participating markets are the Northside Farmers' Market, the Eastside Farmers' Market at Wil-Mar, and two South Madison Farmers' Markets, one at the Labor Temple and one at Villager Mall. The markets were selected based on their proximity to SNAP users, making the double dollars program accessible to those who need it the most.
SNAP/FoodShare users are able to receive the double dollars by simply showing up to one of the participating markets with their benefits card. When the standard transaction is made, the participant will receive a dollar for dollar match, up to $30.00 per person, redeemable at any vendor at the participating markets. The double dollars are good through the month of October and are redeemable at any of the participating markets.
The goal of the MadMarket Double Dollars program is to demonstrate that by promoting and incentivizing the use of SNAP at our farmers' markets, more SNAP users will shop at farmers' markets. This has potential impact in terms of healthy living, affordability, and accessibility of food, and economic stimulus. The goal of health care providers, CAC, and the City of Madison is to see this program grow over time, to attract more community partners, and ultimately bring the double dollars to every farmers' market in Madison.
- Mark Woulf608-266-4611