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Half-price farm shares for SNAP participants!

Everyone should have access to healthy, locally grown food. If you are a participant in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Grow Food Northampton will pay half the cost of a farm share at Crimson & Clover or Sawmill Herb Farm. See the farm websites for details, and click here to learn more about our Food Access program.

Our press release on this program is below:

Florence, MA– Crimson & Clover Farm is preparing for its sixth season of offering discounted farm shares for low-income families in the Northampton area. Grow Food Northampton’s Double SNAP Share program enables the farm to offer fresh produce at half the regular price to participants in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Farm shares, also known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or vegetable subscription programs, generally involve an upfront payment by shareholders in exchange for a weekly selection of fresh, sustainably grown produce straight from the farm throughout the harvest season. With the Double SNAP Share program at Crimson and Clover Farm in Florence, SNAP participants pay half of the cost of a small farm share, or $225 over the season from June through November. Grow Food Northampton pays the other half. In addition, participating families are able to pay $45 monthly using their SNAP benefits, easing the financial burden even further. The total cost of produce received over the 20-week season is well below market value.

The Double SNAP Share program is ideal for any SNAP participant looking for an opportunity to improve their diet with local, sustainably-grown produce at an affordable price. Says one mother of four: “We got so many veggies that we almost didn’t even have to go grocery shopping at all. My kids tried lots of new things this year, and now my son loves salads! This is a great way to introduce low-income families to the joys of cooking and eating real food, and a way to transform the way our society looks at food. It is so much healthier for our children to see our food coming straight from a plant and with imperfections than to think their food magically appears at the grocery store.”

Nate Frigard, co-owner of Crimson and Clover Farm, said “We are so excited to be able to grow beautiful vegetables and be able to bring them to all of the members of our community. This program has helped us be able to reach folks who wouldn’t have been able to afford a CSA share otherwise. We work to make visiting the farm an easy, fun, and enriching family friendly experience. Our convenient location and flexible CSA pick-up times work well for working families with tight schedules.”

Clem Clay, Executive Director of Grow Food Northampton, said “Ensuring that everyone can enjoy all the benefits of local food is central to our mission, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this program to as many as 50 families in 2016.”

The Double SNAP Share program is one of several food access initiatives that Grow Food Northampton manages to increase access to healthy food grown on its 120-acre Northampton Community Farm, most of which is leased to Crimson and Clover Farm and several other farms. A similar subsidized farm share program is available from Sawmill Herb Farm, a unique CSA that offers culinary and medicinal herbs, and a Senior Farm Share program delivers weekly bags of produce from Crimson and Clover Farm to the Northampton Senior Center, and is discounted by 90 percent for low-income seniors. The organization also offers a discounted fee for low-income gardeners to participate in its organic community garden, and grows and delivers fresh vegetables to local soup kitchens and food pantries.

Expansion of these longstanding programs in 2016 has been made possible by a grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. Mike Devlin, Director of Grants and Initiatives at the Foundation, said “Fresh food, when grown locally and cooked at home, is one of the first steps one can take toward good health.  We are very proud to support Grow Food Northampton’s efforts to help families have greater access to affordable produce and more vegetables in their meals!”

Picking up produce at the farm provides a meaningful experience for families, and an opportunity to choose which produce to take home, and even to use the farm’s you-pick area to stock up on some crops that can be preserved for future consumption. Another 2015 participant says: “I’m so grateful for this program. It was fun to get out of the house, pick up my farm share, see friends and pick some more food in the field. Over the summer I ate much better than I usually do, sometimes a head of lettuce per day! In addition to having more to eat, Crimson & Clover Farm made me feel healthier, more connected to the community, to the seasons and to the earth.”

The shares are available for pick up Tuesdays 2:30pm – 6:30pm, Thursdays 2:30pm – 6:30pm, or Saturdays 10am – 2pm beginning in early June and through late October. The farm is located at 215 Spring Street in Florence. Those who are interested and meet the eligibility requirements (must be receiving SNAP benefits) can call Grow Food Northampton at (413) 320-4799 ext. 104 or download the sign-up sheet found at crimsonandcloverfarm.com/snap-shares.

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