MAFM offers several programs that serve our communities and our farmers markets. These programs encourage improved nutrition and help achieve food security for low income families; provide culinary demonstrations and chef events; provide valuable on-site training and jobs for high school students; and provide support for existing markets through collaboration opportunities.
o PASSPORT TO WELLNESS: We’ve partnered with Health Protection Education Services (HPES) to create a program that gives underserved clients $10 gift vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at three St Louis County farmers markets. Clients get free health and diabetes screenings and nutrition classes. In 2018 $4000 extra was spent on farm produce from local farmers. The program is free to participants.
o SNAP-DUBF: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Double-Up Food Bucks (DUFB) are two programs we implemented in mid 2017. Both of these provide incentives for lower income families to purchase food and farm- fresh products at farmers markets. The Impacts Are Real! Farmers’ markets are making real strides in increasing fresh food access for low income SNAP participants. $19.4 million in SNAP benefits were redeemed at farmers markets across the US in 2015, a fourfold increase since 2009.
o “CHEFS COOK REAL CHALLENGE” AND THE “CHEF AT THE FARMERS MARKET” SERIES: “The purchasing decisions made by chefs serve as models to the community. Prioritizing fresh, local produce in their menus allows chefs to create delicious, authentic food, while supporting the farmers.” Jen O’Brien, FMC
We created these events to bring chefs to our farmers markets. The first event is an “Iron Chef” style cook-off where local chefs from the greater St. Louis Region compete at the markets. They create dishes from farm foods on-site. Patrons sample and vote for their favorites. We also host Culinary Demonstrations featuring local chefs, culinary professionals and UM Extension Service nutritionists. The purpose of these is to celebrate and bring awareness to the relationship between our regional farms; fresh foods and local products; and talented chefs.
o MAT-PRO: OUR MARKET ASSISTANT TRAINING PROGRAM is an introductory experiential training program for high school students. Through a well designed curriculum and actual work at the farmers market, students learn about and become skilled in all aspects of farmers market work.
From market operations, marketing & signage, customer service, food safety to actually staffing a market food booth, MAT-Pro offers an experiential learning opportunity that prepares students for future employment or entrepreneurial endeavors. Students even have opportunities to work for farmers, vendors and at other markets.
o STL FARMERS MARKET ALLIANCE: A collaboration between three farmers markets in St Louis County—Kirkwood, Schlafly and U City Farmers Market. The goal is to stabilize and support existing markets through marketing, events and programs that create more sustainable opportunities for business success for our farmers and small food entrepreneurs.
o Led efforts for successful DOH ordinance in STL County on behalf of local farmers markets (2012)
o Organized a new market for displaced farmers and community stakeholders (2014)
o Refurbished and revived purpose of Historic Market Site that was originally built in 1975 (2014)
o Regularly host free community events and children’s activities every season at the market
o Implemented “Chef at the Farmers Market” and “Chefs Cook Real” programs & events (2016)
o Implemented SNAP/EBT (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/ Electronic Benefits Transfer) and DUFB (Double Up Food Bucks) Programs (2017-2019)
o Collaboration with Missouri University Extension Service to offer Health Eating & Nutrition demos/tastings (2017-2019)
o Partnership with Health Education Services (HPES) to offer free fresh produce to Diabetes Health Program clients (2017-2019) In 2018 $4000 more fresh fruits and vegetables were purchased by senior citizens at the U City Farmers Market
o Used part of a MO Dept of Agriculture Grant to make improvements to the Market Facility; logging in over 1200 volunteer hours of work between October 2016 and May 2017
o Recognized by and awarded grants from the following: MO Department of Agriculture (2014, 2015, 2017 & 2019); Earth Day St Louis (2015 & 2016); Farmers Market Coalition (2017 & 2019); United States Dept of Agriculture (2017); Fair Food Network (2017-2019); City of University City (2015- 2019); Health Protection Education Services (2017-2019); Commerce Bank (2016); Great Rivers Greenway (2015); Snapple, Inc (2016)