We at SNAP-Ed recognize that the causes of poverty, poor health and limited food access are systemic and often insurmountable. Through partnerships with community organizations and service providers such as schools, health care and food banks, SNAP-Ed targets the structures and systems that prevent people with limited resources from accessing nutritious, wholesome food and opportunities for physical activity. SNAP-Ed employees and their partners work to remove the barriers people face when shopping for food and planning meals, such as the cost, variety, freshness and proximity of fruits and vegetables.
Four main topics addressed in the SNAP-Ed program are:
- Healthy Living: Spend more time being active and adopt healthy eating habits using national nutrition recommendations, which includes increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains eaten and decreasing the amount of sodium and added sugars.
- Healthy Shopping: Improve the household food budget by using smart shopping tips and menu planning to purchase and prepare healthy meals and snacks.
- Food Security: Have enough quality food to eat throughout a month without seeking emergency food assistance.
- Food Safety: Learn to safely handle, prepare, and store food.
In Clallam County in 2021, SNAP-Ed did the important, onsite work of supporting the community’s gleaning and rescuing of well over 10,800 pounds of fresh produce from local farms. Our team then distributed that produce across 11 regional food banks and pantries. Our SNAP-Ed coordinator Benji Astrachan has worked tirelessly on the Little Free Pantries Project which now consists of almost 20 throughout Clallam. You can find them all listed here.
Education is a major component of the program. SNAP recipients have access to free educational materials and opportunities to learn healthy recipes, grocery shopping on a budget, meal planning strategies and the importance of choosing fruits, vegetables, and whole foods for the health of themselves and their families. SNAP-Ed supports cooking and nutrition demonstrations as well as fun fitness group activities.
Best of all, SNAP-eligible people receive benefits that help them pay for healthy and whole foods each month. Most people use their SNAP benefits at grocery stores, but here on the Olympic Peninsula, we are working to connect as many people as possible with the abundance of fresh local food raised by farmers every year. SNAP benefits can be used at co-ops, natural food stores, and in some cases, farm stands.
At farmers markets, SNAP recipients can double their money through the SNAP Market Match program. Market patrons can stop by the market welcome booth to swipe their SNAP EBT cards and redeem market match bucks alongside EBT tokens. Using SNAP funds at farmers markets not only doubles your money but contributes to the local economy by supporting local farmers!
There are so many reasons to use SNAP benefits for local food. Local food stays fresh longer, is more nutritious, and the act of engaging with our communities through buying local food is a joy that all people should share, regardless of our means.
Check out this recent video from The Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market, featuring a family that absolutely rocks their SNAP benefits.
Do you have any questions or are you interested partnering with SNAP-Ed? Contact Danielle Carson at Danielle.email@example.com. If you and your family are having trouble affording healthy and whole foods, visit the Department of Social and Health Services website to see if you qualify for nutrition assistance.