Maine Farmland Trust rebrands nutrition program for low-income shoppers

Apr 08, 2018

Belfast — Maine Farmland Trust is rebranding its innovative nutrition incentive program under the name Farm Fresh Rewards. Farm Fresh Rewards offers bonus local fruits and vegetables to low-income shoppers at participating retail stores.

The program is currently offered at 16 retail locations around the state of Maine, with more to come in the next year. This program is part of a growing number of nutrition incentive programs that help low-income shoppers access healthy food across the country by connecting them with local produce and the farmers who grow it, building sales for farmers.

Farm Fresh Rewards can be used by shoppers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously known as food stamps) at participating retail stores. Farm Fresh Rewards complements the Maine Harvest Bucks program that offers incentives to shoppers at farmers markets and CSA farms.

The goal of this program is to expand the number of locations where shoppers can access local food — to make it more convenient, and therefore more attractive.

This rebranding comes at a pivotal time for the program. Maine Farmland Trust established the program over the past three years largely under a Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and with support from the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation. MFT is excited by how the program has developed and is currently seeking new funding to allow Farm Fresh Rewards to continue to grow.

“We’re really seeing an impact.” says Shannon Grimes, nutrition incentive project manager at Maine Farmland Trust. “Customers are buying more fruits and vegetables, trying new ones, and noticing health benefits — and sales of local goods are going up too. It feels like we’ve caught some momentum and we hope to amplify these successes.”

For a list of where to find the program and more information, visit farmfreshrewards.org. For a list of all sites that offer nutrition incentives in Maine, visit maineharvestbucks.org.

 

 

 

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