Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Farmers Market Expanding Access to Fresh Produce
Farmers now accepting SNAP benefits at weekly markets
Louisville, Ky. (August 27, 2013)—Area residents receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits now have greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health and host of one of the city’s newest farmers’ markets, today announced that residents can use food stamps to purchase farm-fresh produce from a number of select vendors at its weekly farmers market.
Under a congressional grant, farmers who sell direct to consumers are eligible to receive a free iPhone with a SNAP app, allowing them to wirelessly process SNAP benefits. The Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital market, known as the Bluegrass Avenue Farmers Market, is one of just ten local markets with vendors that can accept food stamps in Louisville, but the only one with this new technology.
“We have to think and act in new ways to address the root causes of poor health outcomes and to improve access to fresh, nutritional foods,” said Allen Montgomery, senior vice president of Advocacy and Community Health for KentuckyOne. “Efforts like this one are so exciting because they not only break down barriers to locally grown fruits and vegetables in food deserts, but they build a sustainable economic model that benefits low-income consumers and farmers.”
The farmers at the Sts. Mary & Elizabeth market first learned about this opportunity from New Roots, a local non-profit organization focused on connecting families to farms with affordable fresh food, sharing knowledge about home cooking and inspiring community leaders to help people transform their lives.
“The New Roots Wellington Fresh Stop was the first fresh food project in Kentucky to participate in this program and pilot the new wireless technology,” said Karyn Moskowitz, executive director of New Roots. “We knew the expensive equipment was a barrier to farmers’ participating in the program. Andre (Barbour of Barbours’ Farms, LLC) wanted to reach more low-income families so he jumped on the opportunity.”
Farmers Andre Barbour and Tehran Jewell, both of Hart County, Ky., will provide produce for those receiving SNAP benefits this season at the Sts. Mary & Elizabeth farmers market.
The hospital, located at 1850 Bluegrass Avenue, hosts the Bluegrass Avenue Farmers Market every Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. through October. Local vendors set up each week in the parking lot off the hospital’s main entrance and offer everything from fruits and vegetables to meats, coffee and baked goods.
According to the USDA, there are more than 7,800 farmers markets nationwide. Farmers markets are a critical hub of the local food system increasing access to nutritious foods, and bringing communities together.
About Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital
Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health, is a 298-bed, full-service hospital, founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 1874. SMEH offers a full range of vascular, orthopaedic, cardiac, medical imaging, surgical and emergency services, a wound healing center, sleep disorders center and has three medical plazas on campus to provide office space for a wide array of physicians representing a number of specialties. Additionally, SMEH is home to Jewish Bariatric Care, the region’s only weight-loss management program utilizing the Lap-Band® System and The Women’s Center, a state-of-the-art diagnostic facility specifically for women.