People throughout British Columbia will continue to have improved access to healthy and locally produced foods through the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program.
“Our government is proud to support the Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupon Program, which helps lower-income people and families, including seniors, access fresh and nutritious foods from local farmers' markets,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The program not only improves nutrition and prevents chronic disease, but also strengthens community connections and reduces social isolation. We will continue to invest in initiatives like this to promote healthy communities throughout the province.”
In 2022, the program reached 4,091 seniors, up from 1,982 in 2021, and 10,152 households benefited, an increase from 6,684 households in 2021.
The BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program is a healthy-eating program that supports farmers’ markets and strengthens food security throughout British Columbia. It has been successful providing many benefits to people in B.C., especially seniors.
“All people in B.C. deserve to have access to fresh, nutritious food, and farmers’ markets are a great place to find them,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “This program is helping feed more people and bring more visitors to markets, which supports local farmers, enriches communities and supports our province’s food security.”
Wylie Bystedt, chair, BC Association of Farmers Markets, said: “The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program is a fantastic and innovative program that both supports the community and invests in our farmers. Our farmers are growing fresh food, which feed families, elders and pregnant people all across the province. Farmers’ markets are a joy-filled place, and the Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program creates opportunities to both build community and strengthen local agriculture.”
As part of the $12 million in 2021-22 year-end funding, $3 million is being used to support an increase in the number of seniors participating in the program over three years ($1 million each year). This program, in its second year of funding, is at capacity.
“Healthy foods are important for a healthy lifestyle at any age,” said Harwinder Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary for Senior's Services and Long-Term Care. “The coupon program helps seniors and families throughout B.C., including in Vernon and surrounding communities, access locally produced, nutritious foods. As well, farmers' markets around the province promote social connections for people, especially seniors, as an enjoyable, family-friendly activity, while promoting well-being through nutritional food.”
Families, seniors and pregnant people can access the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program by contacting community partner agencies: https://bcfarmersmarket.org/coupon-program/where-it-operates/
For more information about the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program or to locate a farmers’ market in your community, visit: www.bcfarmersmarket.org
For more information about the BC Farmers’ Market Trail, visit: https://bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/
For more information about how farmers and local food companies can access provincial supports, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AGRI0023-001022
B.C. farmers’ markets online shopping options: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AGRI0014-000569