We envision the St. Johns Farmers Market as a hub that:
- Reflects the rich diversity of our neighborhood
- Provides equitable access to healthy food
- Offers a space for positive community education and engagement
- Supports our local food producers and entrepreneurs
Our Food Equity work is making that vision a reality through our Veggie Voucher program, SJFM Food Bucks program, and by offering nutrition education through community partners.
SJFM food bucks: A SNAP Matching Program
SJFM Food Bucks provides SNAP shoppers with a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $10 per week) to buy additional groceries at the market.
How it works
To access the SJFM Food Bucks program, SNAP participants simply swipe their Oregon Trail card at the market information booth in return for tokens to be used at the market. For every $1 of SNAP funds redeemed at the market, a matching $1 in SJFM Food Bucks is provided (up to a $10 match each visit) to purchase additional SNAP eligible items from local farmers and producers.
Veggie Voucher program
The Peninsula Veggie Voucher program distributes $30 in vouchers during the market season to low-income community members. We distribute the vouchers through strategic partnerships with local social service organizations.
There is mounting concern about food access nationally and locally. Teachers see the evidence in their classrooms while social service organizations have experienced a spike in numbers of individuals and families who aren’t able to put adequate food on the table.From its inception six years ago, the St Johns Farmers Market committed to making a difference by initiating what we now call our Food Equity work.
We are strongly committed to what we believe is a more effective approach to food outreach. Rather than waiting for individuals and families to come to the market and ask for vouchers, this program goes into the community, partnering with organizations, who identify participants eager to benefit from access to the farmers market and meaningful activities that offer useful strategies for healthy eating.
The incentive for participation is based on vouchers distributed by our partners to low-income families and individuals they serve and redeemable at the market. Our goal is take advantage of the “up close and personal” feel of the market in order to build trust and interest among participants so the program can expand its reach and positive influence through proactive relationships with these Community Partners.
Nutrition and cooking education
We partner with the Oregon Food Bank to bring their 6-week class series, "Cooking Matters", to St. Johns. This interactive class combines classroom lessons and hands-on meal preparation to teach skills around cooking healthy meals on a limited budget. Participants prepare a meal together during each class and take home a free bag of groceries with that meal's ingredients.