Low-income families to get more free produce at Richmond farmers’ market due to federal grant

Low-income families to get more free produce at Richmond farmers' market due to federal grant

Starting this summer, low-income families who shop at the Richmond Main St. Farmers’ Market will get an additional batch of free produce thanks to a federal grant.

Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA), which operates the Richmond market at Nevin Plaza between 13th Street and Nevin Avenue, announced last week that it is one of the organizations to benefit from a $3.7 million Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA).

For a two-year period, with the expected start in early May, those receiving food stamps will get double the buying power at the Richmond market, which opens Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For purchases of up to $10, shoppers will get a matching amount of fresh produce for free, or $10 worth for purchases greater than $10.

That’s far more than what PCFMA markets have been able to offer since 2009. For only a few months of the year, customers have received an extra $5 in fresh produce after spending at least $10 at the market.

The grant program, known as Market Match, is not just good for local families but also for California farmers, officials said.

“I can’t think of a single program that has had a more significant impact upon California farmers in farmers’ markets than Market Match,” said Allen Moy, PCFMA’s executive director. “Market Match increases access to healthy food for low income families, increases fresh produce sales for California farmers, and spurs economic activity in the farmers’ home communities.”