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Supplemental Nutrition Access Program

Increasing fresh food access for low income households at the Bradenton Farmers’ Market by offering Fresh Access Bucks (FAB), a USDA-funded nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP spending on Florida-grown fruits and vegetables up to $40.


Since 2015, families and individuals in the SNAP program can use this form of payment at the Bradenton Public Market. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, provides eligible households like low-income families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities financial assistance to purchase food. 

Double SNAP

Thanks to a USDA-funded nutrition incentive program, the Bradenton Public Market is able to offer “Fresh Access Bucks” (FAB), which doubles the spending power of Market patrons paying with SNAP.  This increases fresh food access for low income households because every $1 they spend on Florida-grown fruits and vegetables is matched up to $40. 

Bradenton Farmer's Market | Mainly Art | November 16, 2019

Together these nutrition incentive programs help low-income and food-insecure households increase their fresh food buying power by providing a $1:$1 match for SNAP shoppers to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at farm direct outlets. The Bradenton Public Market is one of only 2 markets between St. Pete and Englewood to offer SNAP+FAB options for shoppers.

Food Access Matters

Prior to the pandemic in 2019, as many as 3.1 Million Floridians lacked access to healthy food, of which 25% (800,000) are children (a number that has gone up significantly since then). Among food insecure households, 84% report buying the cheapest food instead of healthy food in order to provide enough to eat.

With investment from the multiple donors, Realize Bradenton is doing extensive outreach in those neighborhoods closest to downtown. For more information on this initiative, see “Healthy Together.”

Thank You Supporters

SNAP at the Market has been made possible through generous supporters at events like Long Table at the Station as well as partners like Mosaic. Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) is a USDA-funded nutrition incentive program in Florida.

“We have a customer who had a baby during the pandemic. The baby was suffering from digestive issues and was not able to eat commercial baby foods. Her mother used all the SNAP purchased AND her FAB incentives to buy fresh veggies that she used to make her own baby foods. The child is doing well and her mom is planning to start her own baby food business.”

~ Peg Haynes, former Market Manager and Initiative Consultant

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Kids in the Kitchen

Junior League of Manatee County’s monthly cooking sessions at the Bradenton Farmer’s Market that promote health and wellness by creating kid-friendly snacks in a fun, social setting.

+ Junior League of Manatee County

Kids were given a healthy twist on a recipe for something they love to eat, like pizza. Then, Junior League (JLMC) volunteers and families helped the children find the ingredients in the market. Once all of the ingredients were gathered, members of JLMC helped lead the kids through their recipe. Families each received take-home recipe cards to replicate the yummy creations and hopefully find new local vendors to enjoy. 

Partnership

The Junior League of Manatee County are strong supporters of the fight against childhood obesity as part of their long-time commitment to improving the health and wellness of children. Although “Kids in the Kitchen” is paused at this time due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the success of these sessions inspired a more extensive community outreach program called “Healthy Together” that continues to bring families together around healthy food at the Bradenton Public Market.


Thank You Supporters

The Junior League of Manatee County sponsored and provided valuable volunteer hours to make Kids in the Kitchen an enjoyable and educational experience for families.

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Cook Together

For a variety of projects – planning the city’s streetscape, Market outreach, the Giving Challenge – people cook with local chefs, eat together, and share ideas that shape the future of Bradenton.

Why have a meeting when you can be cooking and eating?! For a variety of projects – planning the city’s streetscape, Farmers’ Market outreach, the Giving Challenge – people from all walks of life come together with local chefs to cook, eat, and share ideas that shape the future of Bradenton.

When a referendum provided the City of Bradenton with new funds to execute improvements in public spaces, they partnered with Realize Bradenton in citizen engagement processes like Cook Together that complemented traditional meetings.

Why Cook Together?

Food uniquely brings people together. Cooking and eating together in local restaurants provided an experimental platform for residents to envision public space recommendations to be funded by the city.

Food and conversations in social settings generated richer feedback for both city officials and designers because sessions like Cook Together take people out of formal City Hall meetings to converse and collaborate in new and fun ways.

Thank You Supporters

Cook Together was possible thanks to the generous support of donors during the Giving Challenge 2016 and 2018.

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Healthy Together

Working with partners from many different sectors to welcome SNAP-eligible families to the Farmers’ Market. Children and adult participants will develop healthy habits through fun social activities like healthy cooking demonstrations, art projects, reading, and quality time at the Market.

people looking at items on table at fair

What is Healthy Together

The Healthy Together Program conducts unique neighborhood outreach to families in walk-to-town neighborhoods in order to increase the numbers of families using their EBT cards at the Public Market through the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP). In one neighborhood adjoining the downtown core, more than 600 households use SNAP, which is approximately 4 of every 10 households in that area (Census Tract 1.03).


At the core of the Healthy Together Program is strengthening families (parents, children, grandparents) by bringing family members together to learn about nutrition and healthy cooking methods. Professionals – a nutritionist and chef instructor – guide families, both in Spanish and English, with handouts, art activities, and cooking classes to build healthy habits while at the Market and between visits. 

Read about the launch of Healthy Together in the February-March 2020 edition of NextGen Magazine.

+ NextGen Magazine (Feb-March 2020)

At a “Healthy Together” event at Bradenton Village, nutrition educators connected with 12 adults and 11 kids, most of whom (97%) were SNAP-eligible. Of those who took the time to fill out a survey after the event, 50% had never been to the Farmers’ Market and 100% said the experience motivated them to cook healthy, together.


What makes the Healthy Together Program distinctive is the focus on the family-strengthening activities of learning, shopping, and cooking together. The 2-generation (and sometimes 3-generation) learning that happens with Healthy Together increases the likelihood of these new healthy habits “sticking” with the family for the long term.

Why start early?

Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number one public health threat to Florida’s future is unhealthy weight. In Manatee County, more than 30% of children are considered overweight or obese, and by the time they graduate high school, 6 out of 10 children will be obese.  In addition to the personal costs of unhealthy weight (stress, illness etc.), the overall cost of care for chronic diseases associated with obesity are estimated to exceed $30 billion in the next 17 years.


A recent 10-year study by the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health found that learning how to cook as a young person leads to better eating practices and better health later in life. A continuing epidemic of obesity affecting nearly 20% of children and 50% of adults has led food advocates to stress that education is essential to help families eat healthier.

(Source: Civil Eats “Teaching Kids to Cook Can Make Them Healthier Later in Life“)

Thank You Supporters

Investment from the multiple donors has allowed Realize Bradenton to do this extensive Market outreach in neighborhoods closest to downtown.

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Downtown Bradenton Public Market

Saturdays, October-May, the Downtown Bradenton Public Market connects local farmers and artisan food producers with area residents and provides wellness and nutrition information with Chef at the Market, Kids in the Kitchen, and health information.

The Market offers fresh food access for low income households by offering Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Fresh Access Bucks (FAB), a USDA-funded nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP spending on Florida-grown fruits and vegetables up to $40.

To view the range of vendors, click here:
Public Market Vendors

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