KEESEVILLE — AdkAction is piloting a new program to help bring locally produced food into reach for those hovering just above the poverty line, while prioritizing choice in the food purchased.
The Fair Food Program provides direct funding to qualified households via new Fair Food Cards that work like debit cards at participating local food vendors. The balance on each Fair Food Card is topped off monthly and can be used to purchase fresh food from local farmers through farm stores, farmers markets, and food hubs like the Hub on The Hill in Essex.
The mission of the Fair Food Program is to create a community-based food supply model in which all residents can participate, prosper, and benefit while supporting local farms and food processing businesses. The main goals of this new program center around increasing the consumption of nutritious, local ingredients, encouraging home cooking, reducing food anxiety, and supporting local farms with access to new customers.
To qualify for the Fair Food Program, individuals or families must fall within ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) income thresholds, which can be determined by using the Income Eligibility Calculator on our website: www.adkaction.org/fair-food.
The Fair Food Program will offer open application periods throughout the year as funding allows. There is currently a wait list for enrollment.
AdkAction has also expanded its Food Security program offerings by building on a project launched last summer called the Fair Share Program. Fair Share matches qualified Adirondack residents with local farms that offer CSA (community supported agriculture) shares. From roughly June to October, participants will receive a box each week from their respective farm that contains a mix of five to seven different vegetables, depending on what is in season.
The Fair Share Program allows regional individuals and families of more modest income levels to directly access a local food culture typically reserved for those with means, given the large up-front costs which can come with joining a farm’s CSA share. Thanks to generous AdkAction supporters, these shares are offered for free to participants while the farmers receive full price for their goods, paid when it is most needed at the start of their busy growing season. This year, AdkAction is partnering with Tangleroot Farm in Essex, Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams, and North Point Community Farm in Plattsburgh to provide the farm shares.
“We were able to enroll 100 North Country families in Fair Share this summer, up from 23 households last year,” said Sawyer Cresap, AdkAction executive director. “The rapid expansion of this program is thanks to the generosity of over 75 individual donors who contributed to our crowdfunding challenge this winter, helping us unlock an additional $25,000 grant. We are truly grateful for the outpouring of community support that has allowed us to bring the bounty of our region to so many of our neighbors.”
The 2022 Fair Share program is currently underway. Farms and individuals wishing to participate in 2023 can contact [email protected] for more information.
AdkAction is a member-supported nonprofit organization whose mission is to create projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the natural beauty of the Adirondacks for all. Learn more at www.AdkAction.org.