Free money exists for farm-fresh food in Keller

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on May 22, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Updated Thursday, May 22 at 7:38 PM

Keller Farmers Market

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KELLER -- On Saturday mornings all spring and summer long, the perks of living in the country come right into downtown Keller.

"We have farmers of all kinds, not just fresh produce," said Keller Farmers Market Executive Director Bridget Rodewald. "We have honey, we have [farm-fresh] eggs... we have pork and lamb."

The food, and even some of the plants, are available for purchase not just with cash, but with SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps). That's something not a lot of people know about, Rodewald said.

Something people also don't know about? A program at the market called "Fresh Funds."

They launched Fresh Funds four years ago and it uses about $1,000 in private donations to put more food in underprivileged pantries. The hope is to show farm food can be just as tasty and affordable as fast food.

For every dollar you spend in SNAP benefits, "[Keller Farmers Market will] match it - dollar for dollar - up to about $10 a week," Rodewald said.          

The deal doesn't come with a catch; it's an extra $10 at no expense to people who use SNAP benefits to put more fresh food in their refrigerator. The problem is, people just don’t know this program is even out there.

Rodewald said they've advertised, but it hasn't worked. One of the years, they gave out just $300 of the $1,000 available.

But with more than 500,000 people using SNAP benefits in Dallas and Tarrant counties alone, Rodewald knows there are people out there who could and should be using the Fresh Funds.

It's open to any family - not just those in Keller - that participates in the SNAP program.

Sonia Escobar loves the farmers market. She doesn't use SNAP benefits herself, but her friends and family do. She said she will tell them right away about the available assistance.

"Because they have the chance to double their food, and these days with the economy, that will be great," she said.

The Keller Farmers Market is open Saturdays through Oct. 25, from 8:00 a.m. until noon. It's located outside Keller Town Hall, west of the Keller ISD Natatorium, on Bear Creek Parkway between Rufe Snow Dr. and Keller Smithfield Rd.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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