Fresh Fruits & Vegetables for Families in the Lakes Region

For: Veggie Round-Up Project
Organizer: Lakes Region Food Network
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables for Families in the Lakes Region (Veggie Round-Up Project)
$1,874
of $3,200 goal.
Raised by 20 donors
58% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

The Veggie Roundup Farmers' Market Coupon Project emerged out of a Lakes Region Food Network conversation about obtaining an Electronic Benefits Transfer terminal for the Thursday Laconia market, which would enable people receiving SNAP (food stamps) benefits to use those benefits at the market. Research indicates that many markets have low rates of participation by SNAP recipients, and we were unsure of the level of interest in our area. At the same time, we also know that Belknap County has a high number of low-income families who would benefit from greater access to nutritious fresh food. A member of our group suggested we do a simple pilot project to see what we could learn.

We started with a two week pilot program in September, 2013, thanks to a generous donor. Working with the local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition clinic, and the Applachian Mountain Teen Project, $1000 worth of coupons were distributed. 57% were redeemed, an 18% higher redemption rate than the Farmers' Market WIC Coupon program achieved when it was available in NH. Though feedback was limited, those who responded indicated they were happy with the program and the products available at the market, and would participate again in the future.

Continuing our partnership with the local WIC clinic, we hope to expand the number of families participating in the coupon program this season, while gathering more extensive data regarding redemption rates. We are particularly interested in why families fail to utilize the coupons, in order to determine what other supports might need to be in place to increase redemption rates. We plan to bring the information we gather to the NH Department of Health and Human Services, with the goal of facilitating reinstatement of the Farmers' Market WIC Coupon program.

To learn more about how you can help Lakes Region families have more access to fresh local foods, click here.

Many thanks to our sponsors and cooperating agencies, including North Country Resource Conservation & Development Council (our fiscal sponsor), Belknap County Community Action Program/WIC program, Appalachian Mountain Teen Project, Frates Creative Arts Studio, Full Basket Co-op, Surowiec Farm, Winnipesaukee Woods Farm, Ramblin’ Vewe Farm, and Still Seeking Farm. Funding for the pilot project was provided by an anonymous donor who feels passionate about creating access to fresh fruits and vegetables for the families in our community! An additional thank you to Nicole Hogan from Creative Marketing Guru for the beautiful photos from last season's market!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 16, 2015

Posted on February 16, 2015

We are in the process of deciding how to proceed with the Veggie Round-up Project in 2015. We have just over $1000 available, as our participants only redeemed 51% of available coupon value. One of our ideas is to create a small pop-up farmers' market at a central location in Laconia, which would be conveniently located for our target population. This market would pop-up once a month, for a limited time period, such as when parents are picking up their children from the daycare. Our funds would be used to subsidize costs of the produce, so that the farmer would receive fair payment and the families would have access to affordable fresh food. There is potential for this market to also offer an EBT terminal for SNAP recipients to be able to use their benefits at this market, possibly with an incentive program that would expand their purchasing power.

Our question to you, our supporters, is whether or not you support this idea, since it will no longer be a coupon program for just WIC recipients. It would continue to address our primary concern, which is increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by families in the Lakes Region.

Please let me know by the end of February if you have feelings either way about this idea. We appreciate your interest and support of this project!


Posted on November 13, 2014

Posted on November 13, 2014

Thank you again for supporting the Veggie Round-up Project's Farmers' Market Coupon Program. Because of your generousity, over 20 families in the Lakes Region were able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at our two Laconia Farmers' Markets. 51% of the coupons distributed were redeemed, and we are doing follow-up with all the participants to find out why more coupons weren't used, and how the coupons benefited their families. We are in discussion now about how to proceed for next year, and we'll keep you posted.

Posted on June 13, 2014

Posted on June 13, 2014

All of the coupons for June have been distributed, and they are starting to appear at the market. We even have a waiting list of interested families! Thanks again to everyone who has contributed so far, and if you've been considering it please make a donation so we can add the additional families to the program. Just $20 will provide a month's worth of coupons to a young family in our community. Let's share the bounty!

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