Forager Finds: Fresh for All

I’ve recently learned of a program that has been growing in Rhode Island for years now. It’s called the Fresh for All Fund and it has the ability to revolutionize the way low-income households approach food.

This incredible concept is implemented by Farm Fresh of RI and funded by individuals, local businesses, and corporations. The Fresh For All Fund allows individuals using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) to maximize their ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Today, in big box stores and local grocery chains, processed and prepackaged food is cheaper than ever before. We’ve created a generation of children who can’t identify what an eggplant is in a line-up of vegetables, but know the marketing jingle to every fast food chain. A family of four can purchase a meal from a drive-thru fast food window for half the price of buying, and cooking food from scratch. Although the cost of buying fresh, wholesome foods is slightly higher, the cost pales in comparison to the medical costs incurred from diet-related illness and diseases.

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

Fresh For All is seeking to break the cycle of low-income families forced to eat unhealthy to save money. They seek to foster socially beneficial innovations in public health and fresh food access. With similar models running at over 200 markets in 25+ states, there is growing support for federal legislation providing nutrition incentives for fresh fruits and veggies. These incentives will seek to:

  • Strengthens farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods
  • Empower parents to raise a new generation of veggie lovers
  • Leverage federal SNAP dollars to reduce the prevalence of obesity
    and diet-related disease
  • Invest federal SNAP dollars into the local economy

How it Works:

Snap Nutrition Assistance: Using an EBT card at participating farmers markets, individuals receive extra money for fresh whole fruits and vegetables. For every $5 in EBT spent, individuals receive and additional $2 to go toward the purchase of farm fresh food. That’s an unlimited 40% bonus.

Healthy Foods, Healthy Families program: This educational program empowers low-income Rhode Island families to shop for and cook with affordable fresh foods through a series of hands-on activities, offered at the farmers market. Parents come with their children to the market where the Healthy Foods, Healthy Families staff offer free samples, games, recipes, financial incentives, and giveaways.

Visit Fresh For All to learn more about this innovative program, and to donate now!

Just a few of the amazing contributors to this program: Citizens Bank, Wholesome Wave, June Rockwell Levy Foundation, The Rhode Island Foundation, Bank RI, City of Providence, Frederick C. Tanner Memorial Fund, Feinstein Foundation