Somersworth Farmers Market

NBN Pic 2Improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food are the goals of the new Somersworth Farmers Market. The Somersworth Farmers Market is an initiative of the Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) to address the obesity/nutrition public health priority identified by the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council.

The Somersworth Farmer Market is off to a great start, thanks to ten Goodwin Community Health volunteers, partnerships with WIC, Strafford Regional Planning, Seacoast Eat Local, and financial support from the Public Health Network and Stonewall Kitchen.

The success of this market would not have been possible without all the remarkable support from our partners. Through our partnership with Seacoast Eat Local the Somersworth Farmers Market accepts SNAP/EBT cards (also known as food stamps), with weekly matching of up to $10. So if a SNAP/EBT recipient spends $10 they will get an additional $10 free to spend on fruits and vegetables each week at the market. Additionally, all SNAP/EBT customers receive $20 free to spend on food at the market during the last week of the month as part of a program called “Close the Gap.” Close The Gap aims to bridge the gap between the time that SNAP/EBT recipients run low or out of benefits, and when their EBT cards are refilled. The last Thursday in July brought 46 SNAP/EBT recipients at the Somersworth Farmers Market, which was almost triple the amount that most markets receive.

“The number of SNAP/EBT recipients was completely unprecedented and the outreach work for the Somersworth Farmers Market is affecting other markets as well. Dover’s Farmers Market also saw unprecedented SNAP/EBT users and many of the participants said they heard about it from Goodwin Community Health/WIC in Somersworth.” -Shelly Smith, Program Coordinator from Seacoast Eat Local.
NBN Pic 3“Assisting with the SNAP/EBT booth really puts the impact of this initiative in perspective. A couple of weeks ago, when learning about the matching program, a mother daughter pair exclaimed with excitement to each other, ‘think of all the soups we can make and freeze for the winter.’ During Close the Gap week I spoke with a SNAP/EBT user who teared up after receiving the $20 to spend at the market, explaining that she was unsure what she was going to do before she came to the market because she ran out of money on her EBT card the week prior and needed food. Seeing that effect makes me know all the efforts from so many partners and volunteers have made this all worth it.” - Liz Clark, Market Manager and Community Health Improvement Coordinator, SCPHN.

In addition to the incentive program, this market aims to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for everyone. Parts of Somersworth are considered food deserts, meaning there is low fresh produce access, especially for persons with limited vehicle access. This market is located in front of Goodwin Community Health which is located right off a popular commuting road (route 108) with a bus stop right in front of the market. This ideal setting, coupled with the impactful partners has really made this a success.

The Market started in June and runs every Thursday through Sept. 24 from 3-6 p.m. at Goodwin Community Health, 311 Route 108 Somersworth.

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