From September 19 to October 10, local potter Emmett Leader will be selling his handmade bowls at Tuesday Market to benefit the SNAP Matching program. Emmett is using locally-sourced clay from downtown Northampton. All revenue from sales will be donated to Grow Food Northampton to help to offset the cost of the SNAP Matching program at Tuesday Market.
Emmett stated, “A few years ago when the new Northampton Police Department station site was being excavated, I delighted in acquiring about 100 tons of clay. As a potter, this felt like an opportunity to make bowls that people would use every day that were deeply connected to the place where they live. My hope for this project is that the bowls will help inspire a long-term conversation and awareness about where we live, the food we eat, and who gets to eat it. And in the short term to raise a significant amount for the SNAP Matching Program so that even more people can access the food from Tuesday Market!”
Grow Food Northampton’s SNAP Matching Program makes the local food economy stronger and more inclusive by increasing healthy choices for low-income families and providing an additional source of revenue for local farms. For the first half of the 2017 season, we provided a dollar-for-dollar match on the first $10 spent by SNAP participants. That match decreased to $5 once the new statewide Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) was available at most fruit and vegetable vendors at Tuesday Market. As of September 12, Grow Food Northampton had provided a total match this season of $6,495 to 172 unique SNAP customers, many of whom shop at market nearly every week. Added to the $22,488 in SNAP benefits spent, this amounts to a total of $28,983 in Tuesday Market purchases by SNAP buyers in 2017, a total that is projected to rise to over $40,000 by the end of the season.
HIP is run by the state Department of Transitional Assistance and partially funded through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program and aims to improve the accessibility of healthy local produce to SNAP recipients. With HIP, participants can spend SNAP dollars on farm-fresh fruits and vegetables at participating retailers and have the amount of their purchase instantly added back to their EBT cards. Only fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs are eligible for the program. For products and vendors not included in HIP, Grow Food Northampton’s matching helps SNAP recipients afford local foods such as eggs, cheese, and meat.
Market manager, Niki Lankowski stated, “Tuesday Market is lucky to have good friends like Emmett Leader who believe in our mission to provide fresh, local food to everyone. Our SNAP Matching helps individuals and families to afford to stretch their dollars a bit further which allows them to eat healthier. Emmett’s project is a gift to us and will help to enable us to continue to provide this valuable service.”
Tuesday Market, Northampton’s vibrant weekday farmers’ market, takes place each Tuesday in the plaza between Thornes Marketplace and the city parking garage. The market runs from 1:30-6:30 pm every Tuesday through November 7, 2017. This year, Tuesday Market was voted “Best Farmers’ Market” in the Valley Advocate’s annual Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll.
In addition to providing space for local farmers to share their products, Tuesday Market is a community gathering space which regularly features local and traveling musicians and performers, artisans, and children’s activities. In 2016 Tuesday Market became a program of Grow Food Northampton.