The Cowley Farmer’s Market Association (CFMA) successfully wrapped up the 2021 market season. The Winfield Walnut Valley Farmer’s Market was open Saturday mornings from May-September, while the Ark City Farm and Art Market operated on Tuesday evenings, June-September.
The association partnered with K-State Research and Extension Cowley County to allow vendors to accept various forms of food assistance at the markets to benefit local families in need.
Cowley County has 1,960 households receiving food assistance, the 10th highest county of need in Kansas. The CFMA instituted acceptance of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps) in 2020 and expanded to participate in the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program in 2021. Both SNAP and DUFB are funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. SNAP provides nutrition benefits to needy families so that they can purchase healthy foods; the DUFB program allows customers to get a dollar-for-dollar match on fresh produce up to $25 per market day, helping to stretch benefits even further.
A group of 18 vendors was able to accept SNAP benefits, and 13 of these vendors sold produce that qualified for DUFB. A total of 135 customers utilized SNAP benefits at the markets this summer and $4,632 of food assistance funds were redeemed. These are impressive values for a community of Cowley’s size.
“Our community has opportunities to expand food access,” Becky Reid said, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for K-State Research and Extension. “I commend the vendors and volunteers who are committed to promoting local foods. The Double Up Food Bucks program helps promote fruit and vegetable consumption.”