SURREY - B.C. Minister of Health Mike de Jong announced Wednesday at Surrey Urban Farmers' Market that the provincial government has allocated $2 million to support the Farmers' Market Nutrition and Coupon Program.
The program will supply low-income families and seniors with discounts at farmers' markets.
"How do we promote the connection amongst seniors, amongst lower income families, amongst women who are about to give birth?" de Jong recalled from an early discussion about the project. "That's where the coupon program came in."
Families will receive $15 in coupons weekly while seniors will receive $12 in coupons weekly for 14 weeks this year. The coupons will be distributed to eligible residents through the Oak Avenue Neighbourhood Hub Society and the Umoja Operation Compassion Society.
"It's modelled after a program that occurs already in the U.S. at virtually all the farmers' markets," said Peter Leblanc, manager of the program.
"Our hope is that we're able to continue the program at the end of these first three years and attempt to make this a permanent part of what farmers' markets and the B.C. government and local communities can do."
Leblanc said the B.C. government funded the program from 2007 to 2009 and recently decided to bring it back over the next three years.
They are starting with 22 communities throughout the province, including the Interior and Vancouver Island.