NYC has largest farmers' market food stamp incentive program

July 26, 2013 at 1:54 AM
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NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) -- New York City has the largest municipal farmers' market food stamp incentive program making fruit and vegetables more affordable, officials say.

"Health Bucks are at the heart of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- helping New Yorkers in need supplement their diet with the foods that will benefit them the most," Robert Doar of the Human Resources Administration said in a statement.

"With Health Bucks and SNAP nutrition education programs, including our healthy eating and cost comparison Cut the Junk initiative, HRA continues its efforts to promote good nutrition habits among more families at the same time it ensures that they will have greater opportunities to get nutritious food with their benefits."

New York City Food Policy Coordinator Kim Kessler said by expanding the Health Bucks program -- which provides $2 coupons for fresh produce at farmers' markets -- Health Bucks would make more than $560,000 worth of fruits and vegetables available to low-income New Yorkers -- an increase of 32 percent over the previous season.

The Health Department's Stellar Farmers' Markets program provides free cooking and nutrition classes for adults at select farmers' markets across New York City.

Last year, the program reached more than 40,000 SNAP-eligible New Yorkers, Kessler said.

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