Keep it Fresh & Give The Gift Of Community
Have you ever paused to consider the power of choice?
Or the strength that is found in creating connection, especially in times of isolation or loneliness?
I’ve had the privilege of bearing witness to those truths being affirmed many times since becoming involved with the Vancouver Farmers Markets and by association, Fresh to Families.
Creating meaningful connections
Having spent a significant amount of time at the markets over the years, I have seen first hand the impact the program has on participants. Providing fresh, locally grown food, and also helping foster a sense of community and belonging, plus the dignity of choice that comes with being able to come and shop for food that suits their diets and needs. Our markets are a warm and welcoming space offering opportunities for connection and empowerment. I think often about the story of a young widowed mother, recently arrived in Vancouver and feeling incredibly lonely. Through our community partner, Circles of Care and Connection, she became a participant and started coming with them to markets. It was there that she met another new mother from a similar background – this friendship transformed her, formerly very withdrawn she was alight with new life. It’s amazing what a sense of belonging can do.
The program benefits small BC farms
Not only does every coupon feed families with fresh, healthy food, they also directly benefit local farmers, who get the full value of each coupon. This means increased revenue for small BC farms and producers. Some farmers report an increase in sales of up to 20% on weeks when coupons are being distributed. Given the turmoil our farmers have faced over the last year with catastrophic weather events, additional support couldn’t come at a better time.
This #givingtuesday on November 29th 2022, we hope that our incredible VFM family will rally to support our humble efforts. We can’t do this work without you.
I am endlessly grateful to be a part of this community.
Bree Hayden, Access & Development Manager, Vancouver Farmers Market
About Fresh to Families and Nutrition Coupon Program
The Fresh to Families Fund is an expansion project of the Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program, a province-wide healthy eating initiative lead by BC Association of Farmers Markets and the Province of BC. Fresh to Families provides funding and support to the Nutritional Assistance Coupon Program.
Serving 18000 families, seniors, and pregnant people throughout 85 communities across the province. The program supports families living with low-income, newly arrived refugees, seniors, and pregnant people with food skills and nutritional programming. Additionally, it provides participants with coupons that can be redeemed at farmers markets for fresh produce, meat, eggs and dairy.
At VFM, we believe that fresh, locally grown food should be available to everyone, regardless of income. Fresh to Families is one of the ways we endeavour to make that mission a reality.
You can do your bit by making a donation here. With your support and kindness, we can continue to feed families, seniors, and at-risk pregnant people living with low-income fresh, nutritious, local food for the 2023 season. Donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt.