The most recent passage of the farm bill earlier this year cut supplemental nutrition assistance program (or, SNAP benefits) in half for individuals in need of food assistance. This means that low-income families that were already struggling to make ends meet will have to endure another reduction in funds to purchase food for their families.
Across the country, there are programs to assist with this disparity. Most notably, the Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) from Wholesome Wave that matches the value of federal nutrition benefits for individuals to purchase fresh produce from participating farm-to-retail venues. The initiative acts as both an incentive for individuals to eat healthy, sustainable foods and as food assistance.
Lynn Caldwell, manager of Atherton Market, along with Friendship Gardens contacted Wholesome Wave (WW) last year to bring the program to North Carolina, but efforts by WW have not come to fruition yet. Since 2013, Wholesome Wave has been working closely with RAFI USA in hopes of implementing a DVCP program in the state.
Enter March Matchness, a fundraising kickoff event inside the Atherton Market to raise money for a matching fund to assist individuals receiving nutrition assistance. The local foods event will begin an Indiegogo campaign that will run through April to create a fund for SNAP recipients. The money raised will go toward doubling the SNAP benefits for individuals who shop at Atherton Market and Queen City Mobile Market.
"The goals are simple," says Metzo. "People stay healthy and farmers stay in business."
For five bucks, guests are treated to a smorgasbord of local appetizers provided by 17 area chefs. There will be plenty of Triple C beer on hand, music and more opportunities to donate to the cause.
March Matchness is this Saturday, March 15 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. inside the Atherton Market, 2104 South Blvd.