Philly Food Bucks Buck Food Insecurity

by 
Eric Borgstrom, Weavers Way Food Justice Committee
Philly Food Bucks can be used to buy fresh produce.

Germantown Farmers Market
Opens June 14

Market Square
Germantown Avenue and Church Lane
Every Thursday, 3-7 p.m.

Farmer John Zook from Gap, Lancaster County, will join Weavers Way and other local vendors at this new weekly farmers market at historic Market Square. Look for guest appearances by the many historic gardens and urban farms of Germantown too! SNAP, Philly Food Bucks, FMNP and cash accepted.

(For more info about The Food Trust’s network of farmers markets, visit thefoodtrustmarkets.org.)

At a time when benefits provided to those struggling with food insecurity are threatened nationwide, Weavers Way is partnering with local organizations to increase benefits and expand access to healthy, affordable produce through three upcoming projects. 

The Food Trust, a nationally recognized nonprofit that coordinates with local grocers and farmers to host farmers markets throughout the Philadelphia area, has spearheaded the Philly Food Bucks program, whereby an individual who spends $5 of SNAP (EBT or food stamps) benefits at a participating farmers market receives a $2 coupon (Philly Food Bucks) to be spent exclusively on produce.

Weavers Way’s Henry Got Crops Farm Market began distributing and accepting Philly Food Bucks in May. In 2017, the farm market reported a total of $705 in SNAP sales. If Philly Food Bucks had been available then, Weavers Way could have distributed nearly $300 in coupons towards the purchase of healthy produce. 

The Weavers Way New Economy Incubator Committee is working with the Germantown United Community Development Corp. to bring a weekly farmers market to Germantown. Beginning June 14, the Food Trust will host local farmers and purveyors and conduct cooking demonstrations at Market Square, 5501 Germantown Ave. (at Church Lane) 3-7 p.m. every Thursday.

“Our mission is to promote and improve Germantown’s business corridors through business attraction, cross-promoting business with our historic sites, increasing foot traffic and community engagement, and providing fresh food options to an area that needs it,” said Andy Trackman GUCDC executive director. “By working with the New Economy Incubator Committee, GUCDC was able to hit all those points by bringing a farmers market to Market Square, a little-used park which was the site of Germantown’s public market in the 18th century. With our partnership with The Food Trust, an experienced farmers market manager, and with Weavers Way acting as an anchor vendor, we are really excited to see this project get off the ground.” 

“The Food Trust has operated farmers markets in Northwest Philly since 2003. We are so excited to be working with such great partners to open this farmers market,” said Katy Wich, Senior Associate, The Food Trust’s Farmers Market Program.

The Food Trust’s nutrition educators will be hosting cooking demonstrations through the farmers market. Every participant in these interactive demonstrations will get to sample the prepared dish and receive $4 in Philly Food Bucks to spend on local produce at the farmers market.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, Weavers Way will again take part in the annual Natural Health Fair at Germantown’s Health Center 9, 131 E. Chelten Ave. The health center’s Advisory Committee hosts hundreds of Germantown residents for an afternoon of healthy foods, cooking demonstrations, music and introductions to healthy activities such as yoga, tai chi, dance, acupuncture and chiropractic medicine. In addition, the Food Trust will be hosting a farmstand. Individuals who participate in the demonstrations for health activities will receive Philly Food Bucks. 

Please come out and support all these activities! But you can also help by donating toward the Philly Food Bucks program. The Weavers Way Food Justice Committee is raising money for Philly Food Bucks for all three projects. And the Weavers Way Farms staff, led by Farm Manager Nina Berryman, would like to be able to distribute Philly Food Bucks to Saul High School students who patronize the farm market. If you are interested in making a donation, please contact the Food Justice Committee at foodjustice@weaversway.coop for additional information. All donations are tax-deductible.

Eric Borgstrom is also a member of the Weavers Way Board. Reach him at eborgstrom@hotmail.com.