With over 100 farmers and tailgate markets across the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Appalachian Grown region, consumers have many opportunities to purchase fresh produce and locally raised and made products. But accessibility doesn’t necessarily translate to affordability.
In an effort to help customers who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program get more for their money, ASAP, an Asheville-based nonprofit, launched the Double SNAP initiative at the Asheville City Market in early 2019. The program, explains communications coordinator Sarah Hart, allows the market to make a 100% match on dollars spent through SNAP. “People swipe their SNAP card for $5 and get $10 in tokens to shop the market,” she says.
With COVID-19 hitting farmers, tailgate markets and family budgets hard, ASAP has continued the program at the Saturday morning Asheville City Market (which has temporarily relocated to A-B Tech) and expanded it to seven additional markets: the East Asheville, Enka-Candler, North Asheville and West Asheville tailgate markets in Buncombe County as well as the Hendersonville, Mills River and Transylvania markets. (Details about participating markets can be found at avl.mx/81x.)
ASAP’s 18th annual Local Food Guide also took a coronavirus punch in March. “We were ready to go to the printer, but none of the information was correct once COVID hit, so we opted to delay publication,” says Hart. An abridged 2020 guide with updated listings and stories is now available at tailgate markets and other food-focused sites in the area. Details and a digital version of the guide are available at avl.mx/81y.