The Michigan Farmers Markets Food Assistance Partnership is lead by the Michigan Farmers Market Association. This work is an important part of MIFMA’s efforts to ensure that all residents have access to healthy, locally grown food.
In 2012, hosts for the Food Assistance Partnership include: The Flint Farmers Market, The Conservation Fund and the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency Farmers Market Consortium.
The partners that comprise the Michigan Farmers Markets Food Assistance Partnership believe that everyone should have access to fresh, healthy, local food and that farmers markets are a great place to purchase fresh Michigan produce and to connect with local farmers and the community.
The Michigan Farmers Markets Food Assistance Partnership provides networking opportunities, shares resources, and facilitates collaboration for individuals and organizations working to increase consumers access to healthy, locally-produced foods through farmers markets. Our focus is on those consumers who are eligible for food assistance including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Farmers Market Nutrition Program/WIC Project FRESH and Market FRESH (formerly Senior Project FRESH); and similar programs.
We strive to bring all five food groups to our community FEAST.
- Feed ourselves and those whom we serve with good foods for the body, good ideas for the mind and good will for the soul.
- Develop and provide tools and information that help farmers markets, managers, vendors and customers learn ways to enhance their local food systems.
- Encourage partnership participants to try out new ideas and to adapt ideas to suit local situations.
- Increase access of food assistance eligible consumers to expand their healthy food options.
- Increase ability of farmer vendors to include food assistance eligible consumers in their market.
- Increase ability of farmers markets to attract food assistance eligible customers.
- Increase access to and use of SNAP, Project FRESH, and other food assistance benefits at farmers markets.
- Share partnership resources (ideas, knowledge, membership) with all who wish to contribute and participate.
- Develop and provide information about health, nutrition, environmental, social, financial and economic benefits of increased local food consumption, using communication and instructional approaches targeted to food assistance eligible consumers and to decision makers who can effect change.
The Michigan Food Policy Council (MFPC) was created in 2005 to connect Michigan’s food system stakeholders. Through implementation of a series of state-level recommendations, the council is working to cultivate a safe, healthy and available food supply for all of Michigan’s residents while building on the state’s agricultural diversity to enhance economic growth. One of the council’s 20 recommendations calls for policy and collaboration to increase the number of direct markets that can accommodate underserved populations through the use of Bridge Cards and increase the capacity of direct markets to implement these programs.
In 2007, MFPC and the Michigan Farmers Market Association began working together to increase the number of farmers markets using EBT technology through the creation of an eight member coalition. Today, that coalition has grown into the Michigan Farmers Markets Food Assistance Partnership which involves more than 50 groups and works to increase consumers’ access to healthy, locally-produced foods through farmers markets.