Thousands more British Columbians are expected to have access to locally grown and produced food this year, as the province invests millions more into the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program.
Started in 2012, the program provides low-income households, seniors and pregnant people with weekly coupons to spend at farmers’ markets across the province.
This year, a fresh injection of $12 million from the province will go in part to upping those weekly amounts from $21 to $27. The coupons, which already covered vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy, herbs, vegetable and fruit plants, and meat and fish, will now also cover honey.
Another $3 million of the funding will go to supporting about 1,750 more senior households, the province announced Sunday (June 5). It said the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets will work with community partners across B.C. to identify seniors in need and reach out to them.
In total, about 8,824 households, or 24,656 individuals, are expected to be reached in 2022 – seven times the number of people supported back in 2012.
Peter Leblanc, manager of the program for the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, said the coupons are a two-fold investment: first into the people who receive them, and second into the farmers and producers whose goods are then purchased.
The coupon program will run from June 4 to Dec. 18 at farmers’ markets in 92 B.C. communities. Anyone who believes they may be eligible for it can go to bcfarmersmarket.org and click on “coupon program.”