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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

AHA to Coordindate USDA Grant for EBT & Promotion at Wendell and Fuquay-Varina Farmers’ Markets

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that WakeMed Health and Hospitals is one of the awardees for the 2012 National Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). WakeMed accepted the grant on behalf of AHA, which will coordinate the work with Wake County Cooperative Extension and Wake County Human Services to assist the Wendell Farmers’ Market and the Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina.

Locally grown produce at the Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina.

With nearly $63,000 in funding from the USDA, AHA will work with the Wendell Farmers’ Market and the Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina to promote those markets, supporting local farmers who vend at those markets and also to facilitate acceptance of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards for people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to feed their families. USDA is granting more than $9 million to 131 projects in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“AHA looks forward to increasing access to healthy local produce to low-income families in Wendell and Fuquay-Varina, as well as increasing sales for local farmers serving these markets,” said Sheree Vodicka, director of AHA and WakeMed Community Outreach. “Families in these communities have limited access to affordable, healthy local foods, but this funding will enable the markets to provide a convenience access point for fresh produce and improve the health of residents in these communities,” Vodicka continued.

“We are so excited about this grant. Now we can reach everyone in our community regardless of their financial situation and provide them with an opportunity to buy fresh produce,” said Brandy Hunter, market manager for the Wendell Farmers Market.

AHA and its partners will work with the markets’ leadership over the fall and winter to hire EBT managers, acquire wireless EBT equipment and training, develop marketing materials in Spanish and English and promote the markets and EBT capability for the 2013 season.

The Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina is open on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from May through October. The Wendell Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May through October. 

The FMPP strengthens farmers’ markets, provides training for agricultural producers, expands direct consumer access to agriculture and creates additional market opportunities for regional food producers.

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