Why would I want to voluntarily cut back to a bare bones food budget? How in the world can I eat healthy for so little money? What makes this a Farmers Market SNAP Challenge? How does this affect me? These are some common questions you might be asking yourself as you consider or plan for the Farmers Market SNAP Challenge.
Why does it Matter?
As we talked about before, the Challenge is an exercise in empathy to experience just how difficult it is to eat healthy on a SNAP Budget and experience how essential the SNAP Incentive Program at the Blacksburg Farmers Market is to helping the 3,441 hungry families in the local community. The Feeding America Southwest Virginia recently presented startling statistics on the prevalence of hunger in our region that highlights how many families are struggling to put food on the table, even when receiving SNAP and other food assistance.
Spent is another informative way to gain a better understanding of the daily struggle of limited-resource families doing their best to make ends meet. Play Spent here and see how well you can juggle the competing demands on limited funds.
You can read more facts about the SNAP program here. This resource (and the others linked to on that page) give an eye-opening look at the true picture of the SNAP program and its impacts on food insecurity, health, and the surrounding community.
How to Balance Nutrition and Cost During the Challenge
Eating healthy on a budget is tricky and doing so on a SNAP budget is even more difficult. Using the following strategies will help you stick to $52 for the entire week.
- Part of the message of the Farmers Market SNAP Challenge is how beneficial the SNAP Incentive Program is for stretching food dollars while purchasing fresh, local food. By shopping at the Blacksburg Farmers Market on Saturday and Wednesday during the Challenge, you are seeing the advantage of the extra $10 match per visit, allowing your Challenge budget to be set at $52 instead of the average $32 most Virginia SNAP recipients have. (This post has more specifics on how we calculated the Challenge food budget.)
- Along with the SNAP Incentive Program, shopping at farmers markets can save money by taking advantage of the lower prices of seasonal foods. Check out this post for some Fall produce recipe ideas.
- A new cookbook is available that was written to provide Good and Cheap recipe ideas that fit on an average SNAP budget. If you use any of these recipes, let us know how they turn out. They look delicious!
- Make a meal plan and stick to it. SNAP recipients don’t wing it if they want to make their food last all month and you shouldn’t either.
What other questions do you have when thinking about the Farmers Market SNAP Challenge? Share them below and we’ll do our best to help!