Beyond Harvest Foods doubles SNAP/EBT credit for local and organic fruits, vegetables

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“Local grocer offers ‘Georgia Fresh For Less’ program,
improving affordability and access to fresh, local food for those most in need”

Special to the
Opelika Observer

Beyond Harvest foods is excited to announce a new partnership with Wholesome Wave Georgia, a nonprofit that works to increase access to local, fresh food. The Georgia Fresh For Less program has incentivized thousands of residents in Georgia and Alabama to collectively spend over $2.5 million on local produce since 2009, specifically to federal nutrition assistance beneficiaries (“federal nutrition assistance benefits” is synonymous with SNAP/food stamps, EBT, and WIC, in most cases) who receive twice the value for their benefits.

To participate, anyone receiving food assistance benefits need only show up to Beyond Harvest Foods’ retail grocery store located at 318 Colin L. Powell Pkwy. in Phenix City.

At checkout, shoppers receive twice as much as the amount of money they debited on their card for fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. For instance, $20 worth of fruits or vegetables or both will be charged as $10, which is a 50 percent discount.

“The ‘Georgia Fresh For Less’ program enables us to connect with customers who may not normally be able to afford locally-sourced and whole organic foods,” said Ben Link, Beyond Harvest Foods’ marketing and communications manager. “This program helps us get healthier food to more people more often, which is especially important right now as our community seeks ways to improve the health and wellness of our community.”

Beyond Harvest Foods operates a mobile market, which is capable of bringing the produce directly into areas with limited to no access to nutritious and affordable foods,  in addition to offering the program at their retail grocery store.

“We have the ability to take our mobile market out multiple times a day to areas desperately in need of nourishing foods,”  Link said. “We are currently researching locations to bring this program where it can make optimal, positive impacts.”

By increasing the affordability, the Georgia Fresh For Less program makes nourishing choices accessible for food-insecure families and promotes healthy eating habits. According to Wholesome Wave Georgia, 78 percent of program participants surveyed in recent years said they increased their weekly produce consumption.

Georgia Fresh For Less also connects people with the products of nearby farmers, which strengthens local resiliency while keeping more money circulating in the local economy.

“Georgia Fresh For Less is rooted in Wholesome Wave Georgia’s mission, which is to increase access to fresh, healthy, local food,” said WWG Executive Director Denise Blake. “Typically, the less money the consumer has to spend, the more likely choices are made based on price, rather than nutritional value. Our program makes nutritional choices affordable for all families.” .

About Wholesome Wave Georgia

Wholesome Wave Georgia believes that all Georgians should have access to fresh, wholesome and locally grown food. Founded in 2009, WWG strives to strengthen local food communities by empowering networks of farmers to facilitate access to and awareness of healthy food choices. By increasing the affordability of healthy, locally grown foods, WWG makes healthy, nourishing choices accessible for Georgia’s food insecure population. WWG realizes its mission through two core programs: Georgia Fresh For Less and Georgia Food For Health. More information is at www.wholesomewavegeorgia.org.

About Beyond Harvest Foods

We are a devoted team of local food advocates and professionals whose goal is to distribute a diversity of fresh and frozen produce, meat, seafood and dairy products for retail, restaurants and more. Our greater mission is to connect our communities to the best, most sustainable foods from throughout our region while developing a more resilient food ecosystem around Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama.

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