The Florida Department of Health is working to increase access to food throughout Florida. This involves improving access to healthy food and beverages via farmers’ markets, corner stores and other cooperatives, all of which are part of the built environment.
The long-term goal of the Department’s food access projects is to advance health equity by increasing access to healthy food and beverages for individuals and their families throughout Florida’s communities, cities and counties in order to help reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Food access projects don’t only involve health issues, but community development and health equity issues. For this reason, access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food is a key component in a healthy, sustainable community.
Currently, food access projects involve establishing new farmers’ markets in underserved areas and increasing the number of farmers’ markets that accept the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Fresh Access Bucks (FAB).
Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP is the nation's most important anti-hunger program. SNAP benefits are given each month on a plastic card called an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods and health care referrals, as well as nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
Fresh Access Bucks (FAB)
FAB makes fresh, local produce more affordable and accessible to low income families while supporting Florida’s farmers and enhancing our local economies. It does so by increasing the purchasing power of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants by providing a one-to-one match for Florida grown fruits and vegetables. A SNAP cardholder who spends $10 of their SNAP benefits at a participating market receives an additional $10 to purchase fresh, local produce.
The potential economic impacts of a farmers’ market can include direct benefits such as profits to business owners in the market, job creation and an overall healthier community. Communities may experience indirect benefits such as stimulating development in the community and enhancing local surroundings as well.