Sustainable Farms and Communities, Inc. in partnership with the Columbia Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Columbia Farmers Market has established the AHF program to help increase the value of food stamps at the Columbia Farmers Market for those most in need of increased nutritional support.
There are hundreds of communities across the country increasing the buying power of food stamps at local farmers markets. However, the AHF program is unique in its all local roots and local health department participation. We hope to follow the health outcomes for AHF participants over time to further demonstrate the value of this program to its supporters. This all local program will be funded by an annual, winter-time fund drive. We need your support today to help fund this year’s AHF program, which will start in May. Click here for information on how to donate today!
The Columbia Health Department will help to identify families that would both benefit from the AHF program and who are interested in the many benefits. They will be given a card that identifies their enrollment, and then they can shop at the Columbia Farmers Market and receive two dollars to spend for every one dollar requested from their SNAP benefits. The CFM has been accepting food stamps for two years with steady growth in usage. However, for families on limited incomes making the choice to eat healthy, fresh and nutritious foods can be difficult when comparing prices. While heavily processed box-store foods may be less expensive, they also come at the sacrifice of health and nutrition. Proper nutrition is extremely important for the development of children as well as the general health of adults. By doubling the food stamp dollars for program recipients, the CFM is effectively 50% off. Thus, for AHF program recipients items such as 85% lean ground beef, tomatoes, apples, breakfast sausage and more are now less expensive than local box-store prices. The AHF program will also include cooking classes and cooking supply kits to help folks best utilize a new diet of fresh and healthy foods.
Again, these funds will come from local businesses and individuals like you who share the belief that affordable access to fresh, local, safe and healthy foods for underserved families should be a priority for the health of our community.