Bath Farmer’s Market now offering benefits for bridge card holders

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By Chelsea Lee
Bath-Dewitt Connection staff writer

BATH, Mich.–Michigan’s bridge card, the debit card issued by the state government benefits program, will provide double the amount of spending money for purchases made at the Bath Farmer’s Market with the Double Up Food Bucks incentive program.

Here’s how it works: Any money spent on local food at the market will be matched by the Fair Food Network in the form of bonus tokens.  The network, a national nonprofit that focuses on sustainable food systems, piloted the program in 2009 and was officially launched in August 2010.  It has since expanded from one market in Detroit to 50 throughout the state.

The incentives aim to benefit both the Michigan economy and local families.  Since the bonus tokens can be used to purchase only Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables, the money is going directly back to local farmers and businesses, specifically, the vendors who bring their food to Bath.

It is also a way to make fresh, healthy food—often more expensive than processed foods—easily accessible to low-income families and others using government benefits.

“If fresh produce is available and it’s affordable, folks will buy it.  And they’re ready to buy it, they want to buy it, there is demand,” said Meredith Freeman, program director of the Fresh Food Network.

According to a news release by the Michigan Farmers Market Association, one in every four Michigan families required some form of food assistance last year.  With the Bath farmer’s market adopting this program, those families needing assistance in the area will get twice the amount of food than what they paid for.

The Bath Farmer’s Market takes place year ’round every Thursday from 3-7 p.m. It is at 13751 Main St. in Couzens Park, across the street from Bath Elementary School.  More information on the market can be found at the Bath Township website. If you would like to find out more about the program, visit the Double Up Food Bucks website.

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