San Diego Farmers’ Markets Deliver Food Justice in Time for Christmas
San Diego’s Brian’s Farmers Markets recently introduced the Electronic Benefit Transfer option for low-income families at its Mission Valley, Point Loma and University Town Center locations. “After all,” explains 35-year-old Brian’s Farmers Markets owner Brian Beevers, “local, high-quality food should be available at every income bracket.” Of the dozens of San Diego weekly farmers markets, only five accept EBT. Three of those five are Brian’s Farmers Markets. Beevers is a long-time believer in food justice, community supported agriculture and the availability of high-nutrient, local, organic produce for all families.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) December 17, 2010
Brian’s Farmers Markets recently introduced the Electronic Benefit Transfer option for low-income families at its Mission Valley, Point Loma and University Town Center locations. “After all,” explains 35-year-old Brian’s Farmers Markets owner Brian Beevers, “local, high-quality food should be available at every income bracket.” Of the dozens of San Diego weekly farmers markets, only five accept EBT. Three of those five are Brian’s Farmers Markets.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system distributes the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) public assistance and the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Every state in the U.S. uses EBT. Recipients of public assistance in California use EBT by either sliding their Golden State Advantage cards through a point-of-sale device at the merchant’s location or using a special automated teller machine that dispenses cash. This secure card can reduce the stigma that prevents some low-income families from shopping at a variety of vendors.
At Brian’s Farmers Markets locations at University Town Center, Mission Valley and Point Loma, those enrolled in SNAP and the CFAP can go to the market manager’s booth to run their cards in exchange for “Market Bucks” – tokens worth any amount. While there is no fee, there is a $5 minimum. Shoppers take the tokens to any of the EBT qualified vendors where they are accepted as cash. Brian’s Farmers Markets constitute three of just five markets in San Diego County that offer EBT.
Beyond using the EBT token system to buy local, organic and pesticide-free produce at the markets, qualified families can use EBT to participate in Brian’s Farmers Markets’ “community supported agriculture” (CSA).
Community Supported Agriculture is a system of food distribution where local farms provide portions of their produce to the local community. Each week, registered families receive a box of fruits and vegetables coming from several different local farms. Brian’s Farmers Markets are the only farmers markets offering this service for low-income families participating in SNAP and CFAP.
All Brian’s Farmers Markets are CERTIFIED farmers markets, indicating that the produce at markets is only grown in California.
Committed to the belief that all citizens should have convenient access to highly nutritious, local foods, Brian’s Farmers Markets owner Brian Beevers accepts only pesticide-free and organic, local farms as vendors. He limits artisans to those who sell products with a low environmental impact or that benefit the environment in some way. For instance, his vendors include Revolution Landscape, a company that replaces grass lawns with vegetable gardens or native plants. Solar power companies are also encouraged to apply.
While working as a website developer, Beevers longed to support the local economy by supporting local farmers. After all, food shipped from across the country or from overseas begins to lose its nutrient value right after picking. Further, produce allowed to ripen on the stem for as long as possible retains far better flavor than that picked too early””the method most often relied upon by grocery chains.
Beevers was also surprised that farmers markets weren’t using EBT. He is not alone. Michelle Obama, through her Let’s Move anti-child obesity campaign, is studying how to get fresh produce into under-served inner cities.
A graduate of Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego, Beevers quickly recognized the pent up desire San Diegans had for local, pesticide-free food. Buoyed by the Mission Valley market’s successful run, he opened the Point Loma Farmers’ Market on Dec 13, 2009 and the University Town Center Farmers’ Market on August 19, 2010.
Beevers, a “pescetarian” and life-long advocate of “food justice” (the conviction that no one should live without enough food because of economic constraints) began researching how to accept EBT for low income families before he opened his first market in Mission Valley in Sept of 2009. Beevers hopes that his acceptance of EBT will show other market managers that accepting EBT is a lucrative and meaningful way to do business with the community.
In the past ten years, the number of farmers markets across the United States has increased 80% to over 5,000.
Brian Beevers: 619-795-3363
Brian’s Farmers Market Locations & Times
UTC: Genesee Ave at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza, Thursdays 3-7
Mission Valley: Mission Center Road in front of Target 5028 Camino del Rio, Fridays 3 -7
Point Loma: Corner of Rosecrans and Cañon, Sundays 9:30 ““ 2:30
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2010/12/prweb4903044.htm