Donate Now to Make 1/2 Price Discount Available on Farm Shares For Low Income Folks
I wanted to let you know about a great way you can help increase the consumption of local foods for all members in our community, including low-income people. In a word: USA. Okay, actually that is 3 words rolled into one – USA stands for Union Supported Agriculture, the name of our version of a CSA farm share program.
Last year, in addition to selling regular USA member shares, Food AND Medicine began accepting payments from people who use SNAP. SNAP stands for Supported Nutrition Assistance Program, (or the program formerly known as food stamps). We were able to do this through a groundbreaking and innovative idea to use grassroots donations and set up a revolving loan fund. This enabled us to pay the farm for SNAP shares at the start of the season, just like other USA members do. Then, as SNAP-revolving-loan USA members picked up their shares each week, they would pay for a portion of their share and replenish the loan fund so that by the time the growing season was finished, the loan would be repaid.
Building on our success from last year, we not only want to
- 1) increase the total number of shares offered;
- 2) still offer farm shares to those who use SNAP; but
- 3) we also want to offer our SNAP-revolving-loan customers shares at a half-price discount.
We need your support to make this happen.
Responding to an acknowledged need, (more than 13,170 households used SNAP benefits in Penobscot County in 2008-9!), Food AND Medicine’s offer of farm shares at a half-price discount empowers people to buy fresh grown local food while negotiating their needs on a limited income. Like Food AND Medicine’s Solidarity Harvest, this program keeps the money in our local economy; supports a small farmer; and provides access to healthy vegetables.
Since 2004 USA has worked to create a relationship of mutual support between local farmers and members who buy a “share” at the beginning of the growing season. Co-sponsored by Food AND Medicine and the Eastern Maine Labor Council, USA is a community supported agriculture (CSA) program originally designed to foster a connection between local farmers and labor. USA has expanded to be a “community union” of people based on the belief that union values of mutual aid and solidarity mix well with local food, fair labor practices and supporting the growth of more vibrant and healthy
By including half-price shares for folks that use SNAP benefits, here at USA we are making local vegetables available to a segment of the population that often struggles to get access to healthy food options. Offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, if a person qualifies for SNAP, they qualify for our half-price shares!
Here’s how you can help us raise $10,000 to make this program a success:
1. Become a USA member: buy a share of food for yourself and an extra share to successfully fund 2 SNAP participants!
2. Make a tax-deductible donation specifically to help fund the half-price farm share program!
3. Promote this program: Tell a friend! Recommend people or groups we should contact!
Make a tax-deductible donation online!
Designation Code: “USA-donateSNAP“
Mail in a check made out to “Food AND Medicine Jobs with Justice Education Fund” with a comment line of “USA-donateSNAP”
to: Food AND Medicine, 20 Ivers Street, Brewer, ME 04412
Learn more about USA