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Coupons making farmers markets more accessible

Seniors and people on fixed incomes will still be able to access fresh fruits and vegetables at the Port Coquitlam Farmers Market thanks in part to a nutrition coupon program. - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Seniors and people on fixed incomes will still be able to access fresh fruits and vegetables at the Port Coquitlam Farmers Market thanks in part to a nutrition coupon program.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Seniors and people on fixed incomes will still be able to access fresh fruits and vegetables at the Port Coquitlam Farmers Market thanks in part to a nutrition coupon program.

The initiative was launched last year with the aim of getting more people to visit their local farmers market. The program has become so popular, said Port Coquitlam market manager Kathy Marven, that it is already fully subscribed for the current market season.

"It helps support low income families to take part in the farmers market where the may not necessarily go to shop," she told The Tri-City News. "It introduces them to fresh local produce."

The coupon program, she added, not only helps the shoppers but also the vendors, and all funds stay in the community and support the local economy.

Those who shop at the farmers market can also take part in valuable cooking demonstrations and workshops on canning and preserving, organized by the Wilson Centre Seniors Society.

"When you introduce your family to locally grown produce, hand picked that morning that hasn't been processed… it becomes a real wholesome thing to participate in," Marven said.

Peter Leblanc, the coupon program manager, said in a press release that increasing participation in local farmers markets exposes people to a wide range of healthy food. He added that a person's financial means should not exclude them from taking part in the markets.

"Our objective is to encourage people to try new foods and explore the diverse amount of produce available in their own community," he said in a press release. "Shopping at a farmers' markets is an experience that should be inclusive to all."

Funding for the farmers market nutrition coupon program was provided by Healthy Families B.C. The program is fully subscribed for the current market season.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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