The Nova Scotia government is investing $350,000 in the Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program to help low-income Nova Scotia households purchase fresh, healthy and locally produced food.
The program also helps to improve Nova Scotians’ food literacy, providing more people with opportunities to understand the importance of consuming nutritious food.
Created by the Farmers’ Market of Nova Scotia Cooperative, the program provides participating households with regular allotments of an alternative currency (food bucks) redeemable at farmers’ markets.
“Supporting community organizations in their efforts to increase food security is not only a responsibility, but a priority for this government,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “The Farmers’ Market of Nova Scotia has been a leader in creating initiatives to improve food literacy in our communities. It is critical for everyone to have access to good nutrition and healthy eating choices.”
Twenty-five famers’ markets are participating in the Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program this year. Each market partners with non-profit organizations, providing them with food bucks on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. The organizations are responsible for selecting participant households on a needs basis according to specific criteria.
Premier Rankin visited the Halifax Brewery Market, one of the participating farmers’ markets, this week to learn more about the program.
“Not only does the Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program address the issues of food insecurity for low-income Nova Scotians, but it also supports local producers and farmers,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft. “Collaboration is the key to this initiative. We must continue providing access to affordable and healthy food to ensure vibrant communities.”
We are beyond thrilled by this funding announcement. Growing this program will allow us to build on the incredible success we have already achieved. Through this program we are promoting community inclusion, stimulating our local economy and providing healthy, local food to those who need it most. It is a win-win-win opportunity. – Justin Cantafio, executive director, Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia
- Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) is a non-profit cooperative of over 40 markets representing more than 1,500 owner-operated businesses across the province
- the Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program launched in May 2019 with six participating markets and grew to 13 participating markets in 2020
- each farmers’ market is responsible for creating its own food bucks (physical and/or digital currency) while ensuring full anonymity of program participants
- households can participate in the program for its entire duration (minimum of six months or the duration of the partner farmers’ market’s season)
- Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia distributed $78,235 worth of food coupons over an eight-month period to 261 households across the 13 markets in 2020/21