A federal grant will give lower income Oklahomans healthier food choices. It is expanding the SNAP program by matching benefits for recipients who shop at local farmers’ markets.
The goal is really three-fold. First, it brings more federal dollars into Oklahoma. Second, it helps out local farmers. But most importantly it urges people who receive SNAP benefits to eat healthier.
Bessie Fisher of Oklahoma City is helping care for her grandchildren, and she says she couldn't do it without the help of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP formerly known as Food Stamps.
"It's just a big help to me and like you can see my grandkids. I got 11 of them, but it's a big help," Fisher said.
And now a big help for the program: The state of Oklahoma is getting a $480-thousand federal grant to match up to $20 a day for participants who shop at local farmers’ markets.
“Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most expensive part of your grocery budget. Everyone knows that,” said Sheree Powell Department of Human Services. “And so they often resort to buying less expensive foods to stretch their dollars."
Farmers say it also gives recipients the chance to talk with the people who are producing their food.
"How that's better for them than buying a product in the store that's got a whole bunch of coloring or other products like that that aren't good for them,” said Tori Sparks with the Duncan Farmers Market. “How this is better for their child, maybe who has a lot of food allergies. Teach them how to read a label."
Fisher says, with her active family, she’ll take all the help she can get.
"I think it's a good idea,” Fisher said. “Twenty dollars? You can't beat that."
The program is now underway. Here is a list of participating Farmers Markets: