FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2021
Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) is beyond thrilled to announce the launch of its 2021 Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program. This province-wide program, now in its third year, involves FMNS member farmers’ markets and partner social organizations working together to address issues of food insecurity for low-income Nova Scotians while supporting local producers and farmers. This program allows project participants to use an anonymous alternative currency—or “food bucks”—that can be redeemed at any vendor stall at participating markets.
Starting this June, FMNS member farmers’ markets will be providing weekly food bucks allotments to well over 400 low-income households across Nova Scotia. FMNS expanded this project from 6 participating farmers’ markets and over 100 households in 2019, to 13 farmers’ markets and over 200 households in 2020. In 2021, over $250,000 in “food bucks” are ready for circulation this year, with over 400 households taking part at more than 25 FMNS member farmers’ markets across the province.
This year’s program has significantly grown thanks to $350,000 in generous funding provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage (CCH), and a commitment to fund the program in years to come. “Supporting community organizations in their efforts to increase food security is not only a responsibility, but a priority for this government,” says Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin. “Farmers’ Market of Nova Scotia has been a leader in creating initiatives to improve food literacy in our communities. It is critical for everyone to have access to good nutrition and healthy eating choices.”
The Nourishing Communities Food Coupon program has been made even more important by the economic downturn and increased food insecurity caused by COVID-19. “Nova Scotia is the most food insecure province in Canada, and COVID-19 didn’t make things any easier, but we’ve seen an incredible amount of ingenuity and adaptability from our farmers’ markets,” says Justin Cantafio, Executive Director of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia. “With over 40 member farmers’ markets across the province, we knew we were in a great position to help get healthy local food to those who need it most, while continuing to support our local producers. It’s a win-win situation.”
The Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program can trace its roots back to the Wolfville Farmers’ Market, where the first program of its kind in Nova Scotia started more than six years ago. “We’re so grateful to see this program spread across the province with the leadership of Farmers Markets of Nova Scotia and the support of our provincial government,” says Jennifer Bolt, Volunteer Coordinator with the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. “Thanks to this partnership, families across Nova Scotia will have greater access to healthy local food. Food Bucks helps people who are food insecure, local farmers, and rural communities. It’s a unique program that builds community and ensures food spending benefits Nova Scotians at every touch point.”
FMNS is actively expanding its fundraising efforts to continue growing and supporting this project for next year and into the future. FMNS is working to bring on more farmers’ markets and program participants, turning this pilot project into a long-term, sustainable program providing crucial support to Nova Scotians.
“Our farmers’ market has participated in FMNS’ Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program since its launch three years ago,” says Ashley Marlin, Manager of the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market. “We’re extremely excited to see the program expand in 2021 and look forward to being able to make an annual commitment to our community partners. Our vendors love seeing more community members accessing our market and fresh local healthy food. Our community partners have reported that their participants love being able to shop at their local farmers market and enjoy the ease of the program. We hope this program continues to grow and add more community partners!”
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For more information or to request an interview, contact:
Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative
Find us online at www.farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca
Facebook: Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia
- You can view a detailed evaluation report of the 2020 Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program prepared by the Acadia Entrepreneurship by clicking here.
- You can learn about all the steps taken by FMNS and our sector in 2020 by reviewing our 2020 Annual Report, available by clicking here.
- You can view the official July 2 press release issued by the Government of Nova Scotia by clicking here.
About Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS)
Founded in 2004, Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) is a non-profit cooperative of over 40 unique members representing over 1,500 owner-operated businesses across the province, our cooperative is the unified voice of our region’s farmers’ market sector. As Nova Scotia’s farmers’ market sector association, our cooperative advances growth and prosperity for our member farmers’ markets and their vendors through training, resources, advocacy, promotion, and community building. Together, our organization and our members are building a cooperative and dynamic farmers’ market sector cultivating successful businesses, vibrant local economies, and healthy communities.
Our cooperative’s member farmers’ markets are small business incubators, job creators, and hubs for social and economic activity. They’re the places where producers and vendors sell directly with their target market, where entrepreneurs find a low-overhead venue to create and develop their minimum viable product, where artisans showcase and sell their wares, and where new Canadians ply their trade. Our cooperative’s member farmers’ markets are also a driving force in Nova Scotia’s buy-local movement and the trendsetters that launched and continue to bolster the province’s thriving agri-tourism industry.
 Partner social organizations include registered charities, societies, and non-profit organizations that work directly with individuals and/or households who may be experiencing food insecurity. Examples include organizations offering support services for individuals who identify as BIPOC, women’s centres, food banks, shelters, family resource centres, and organizations offering services for new Canadians and immigrants.