Fifty families in New Westminster will have access to fresh Farmers Market fruit, vegetables, dairy, cheese, seafood and meat that they otherwise could not afford thanks to an innovative new program that subsidizes healthy food choices and encourages families to cook at home.
The Nutrition Coupon Program is a provincially sponsored program aimed at low-income families. The program aims to address the problem of childhood obesity by empowering families to offer healthy dietary choices for their children. Participating families receive Farmers Market vouchers and a series of applied cooking lessons.
The Nutrition Coupon Program is a partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and the B.C. Farmers Market Association. The program began in 2007 with one farmers market in each of the five different health regions participating. In 2008 the program doubled in size to 10 markets and this year in 2009 has again expanded to 15 markets across B.C.
Each family receives $15 worth of coupons to take to the Market to exchange for fruits, vegetables, dairy, cheese, seafood, and meat. There is also 8 hrs of hands on cooking lessons for each participant provided by local social service agencies.
The program has been a tremendous success and currently has a 95% return on the coupons.
This is the Royal City Farmers Market’s first year participating in the program. We are partnering with the New West Pregnancy Outreach Program run by public health nurse Lori Radburne to implement the program.
The Royal City Farmers Market will continue to search for ways to make the Market inclusive to all income levels in the city and we are confident the Nutrition Coupon Program will be a success here in New Westminster.