Local Food Hub is thrilled to announce that we are now the Piedmont regional lead for the Virginia Fresh Match Program. What’s Fresh Match, you ask? It’s a program that allows SNAP recipients to get double the value for their SNAP dollars when purchasing produce.
Programs similar to Virginia Fresh Match exist throughout the United States, thanks to widespread recognition that (spoiler alert) fresh produce is good for you and everyone should be able to access and afford it. For example, according to the 2020 Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger, food-insecure senior citizens are 2.33x more likely to report poor health than their food-secure counterparts. And more people than you might realize struggle with food insecurity – according to the same report, 69.4% of Virginia households said it was “often” or “sometimes” true that they worried about running out of food before they could buy more.
Fresh Match helps combat these issues by making produce more affordable to the 750,000+ individuals in Virginia who benefit from SNAP. The network works with retail food outlets including farmers markets, mobile markets, CSAs, farm stands and neighborhood grocery stores to double the value of SNAP-EBT and Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) and help individuals and families take home more fruits and vegetables.
Our participation in this program is through LEAP, the Virginia lead for Fresh Match, and recipient of federal funds that make this work possible. While Virginia Fresh Match is available to all types of produce, the Virginia program has a specific emphasis on local produce, so that we can support our local farming communities in the process. LEAP has successfully managed Fresh Match for many years. We are excited to join their effort, and further our own goal of making fresh produce more accessible and affordable to all.