Letter: Support Albert Lea farmers market

Published 11:03 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

We all know what autumn brings. Falling leaves. Kids going back to school. Humidity giving way to a nip in the air. But it may surprise you to know that it doesn’t mean the end of the farmers market. In fact, at this time of year, the bounty is usually at its richest.

So, I am writing to encourage everyone to continue supporting our Albert Lea Farmers Market at the corner of North Broadway and Fountain Street from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m Wednesdays and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Northbridge Mall parking lot through the end of October.

As manager of the local farmers market, I am proud of the nutritious and delicious food we provide to area families. The farm-to-table connection is part of what makes our community so vibrant. I’m also proud that even more local families have access to fresh, healthy, local food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Market Bucks.

Market Bucks is an incentive program designed to help SNAP customers increase their purchasing power at farmers markets. It is administered by Hunger Solutions and funded by the state of Minnesota. In fact, Minnesota was the first state in the country to pass legislation funding such a program. Participants can use their EBT card and receive a dollar-for-dollar match on all SNAP spending at our market — up to $10 per visit. Market Bucks increase the amount of fresh, local food SNAP customers can purchase and helps bring new customers to our market.

It is interesting to note that the number of people who didn’t know that they could use their EBT for fresh produce at the farmers market. We are happy to answer questions about using your SNAP benefits as well as give ideas on how to use the produce that we sell at the market. If you have never been out to the Albert Lea Farmers Market, now is the time to check it out.

On behalf of area farmers who work tirelessly to put food on your tables — as well as their own — I hope you will continue to support our farmers market through the end of October. By helping one another like this, we help to make our community stronger and better.

Jan Bernau

Manager

Albert Lea Farmers Market