Home-grown solution to hunger

Local co-ordinator starts food bank/farmers' market voucher program

A mix of cooked vegetables.

Deb McIntosh, who co-ordinates the Heritage Society Vendor Market held every Saturday at the Station Museum in Castlegar, isn’t waiting to see if an application to register for the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Coupon Program is successful for 2014.

Instead, she has already made arrangements for a local solution.

Last week, the B.C. Government announced an additional $2 million for the province-wide program and added 13 new farmer’s markets to the list of those participating. At the time, McIntosh was unaware of the program’s existence and was eager to get an application in.

In the interim, she quickly put together a similar program and announced the details on Friday, July 26.

“Starting in August, vouchers will be available with the food hampers provided through the food bank,” she said. “They will be good for the following Saturday’s market [at the museum].”

The vouchers — $5 (for singles), $10 (for couples) and $15 (for families) — will be funded through the Community Harvest Food Bank for now and about 200 people will be eligible to participate.

The vouchers will be valid at the Castlegar Farmers’ Market on the day stated on the voucher.

Vendors will accept the vouchers like cash and the Food Bank will reimburse the vendor at the end of the market based on the number of vouchers received.

The vouchers will be good for vegetables, fruit, herbs, dairy or eggs and are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash.

McIntosh said that she is seeking letters of support from the City of Castlegar and MLA Katrine Conroy to help ensure the application with the government program is successful.



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