Nourish families and friendships this Giving Tuesday

You may have noticed that MFFM adopted a new tagline last summer: “Nourishing the roots of our communities.” Those roots include the historic tradition of rural farmers bringing goods to public spaces in Maine towns and cities. They include generations bonding over the sharing of recipes and food preparation tips. And those roots include Mainers giving a hand to their neighbors who need help obtaining nourishing food.

At a time when Maine has the highest hunger rate in New England, a time when more young families and even senior citizens are going hungry, MFFM is implementing a number of programs to help at-risk people access local, nutritious foods. Our biggest project is Maine Harvest Bucks (which provides bonus produce to shoppers using SNAP benefits). We also provide extra produce to WIC shoppers, and helped implement a new voucher program for veterans with the VA Maine Healthcare System.

These programs are special because they serve Mainers of all ages, equipping them with the resources and knowledge necessary to make the best food choices for their families, in the social, supportive, diverse atmosphere of the farmers’ market. Nourishing hearts, souls, and bodies is what good food and friendship is all about.

Please consider donating to support this work! Just $30 will provide a week’s worth of vouchers for 3 families, and any amount will help. Click here to contribute.


Quotes from participants in MFFM’s food access programs:

For me, growing up on macaroni and cheese and hotdogs and meat and potatoes and canned vegetables, knowing how to choose healthy foods is a challenge. Some people are lucky to grow up with fresh fruits and vegetables on their table every day. That wasn’t the case for me. I think that’s a barrier for a lot of young families today. 

-Aroostook County farmers’ market shopper, participating in Maine Harvest Bucks and SNAP-Ed

Often I’m very nervous and embarrassed, because a lot of places put shame on you when you are standing in line getting ready to use your WIC check or SNAP. But when I went to the farmers‘ market for the first time, they were so amazing, and I was also able to use my EBT card. They gave me a coupon for free fruits and vegetables. I just thought it was amazing – the whole experience.
-Kennebec County farmers’ market shopper, using Maine Harvest Bucks

I feel like it is a blessing to be able to have a program like WIC. It was a huge help to me when I was pregnant, to know I would be getting those foods and to know that I would be able to get those foods for my baby… I have a neighbor who also received it for awhile and was just so excited to have those additional groceries each week when times were really tough from paycheck to paycheck.
-Aroostook County farmers’ market shopper, participating in MFFM’s WIC doubling project

It has been good for my kids to go to the farmers’ market instead of the grocery store – it’s good for them to know where their food comes from and see the farmers. I don’t want my kids to grow up and think that eggs come from a store and not from a chicken. Plus, the farmers’ market is nice, and it is kind of social. You see people you know, and you chat, and it’s nice to just get out and have that community connection.
-Oxford County farmers’ market shopper, Maine Harvest Bucks participant

We go to the farmers’ market as a family. We get to go outside. The kids like to walk around, and get to interact with other people in the community. Usually we learn something new every time we go. The kids get exposed to some new things and they like the fruits and vegetables!
-Aroostook County farmers’ market shopper, participating in Maine Harvest Bucks

One month we weren’t able to get to the farmers’ market, and it just shocked me at what a big impact it had budget-wise, because we weren’t able to use Maine Harvest Bucks.
-Piscataquis County farmers’ market shopper

We had a new shopper at the market this week. Turns out, she had complimented her neighbor on how good she looked and how happy she seemed, and the neighbor told her it was because she had been eating fresh, local vegetables that she had been getting at our farmers’ market with her Harvest Bucks, for free, with her EBT card! The new person said she wanted to eat fresh vegetables too, and was so happy to walk away with vouchers for fruits and vegetables. We both had a grateful grin.
-Lincoln County volunteer operating MFFM’s incentive program for markets that do not have EBT machines

I know one person in particular that really struggles most of the month and when that WIC check is due they can eat. You know? It’s reality today.
-Shopper participating in MFFM’s WIC-doubling program