Athens, Ga. – Kevin Concannon, United States Department of Agriculture undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, will tour local food programs at the University of Georgia’s UGArden, Clarke Middle School’s Summer Garden, West Broad Community Garden, Campus Kitchen and Athens Farmers Market on July 22 to discuss increasing access to local, healthy food for SNAP clients.
“All Americans, including those participating in our nutrition assistance programs, need to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet,” Concannon said. “America’s farmers have an important role to play in addressing that need in communities across the country. Accepting SNAP benefits also increases the customer base for local producers, adding an extra economic boost to the community.”
Since 2008, the number of SNAP-authorized farmers, roadside farm stands and farmers markets grew from 753 to in excess of 6,400.
“These increases did not just happen,” Concannon said, emphasizing that expanding access for SNAP recipients to the fresh produce available at these outlets has been a top priority for the USDA.
What: Media are encouraged to attend the below events to help raise awareness for SNAP client access to locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables. Press interviews and b-roll opportunities will be available.
Why: In Georgia, from 2008 to 2014, SNAP redemptions at farmers markets grew from $49,415 to $383,769, providing an economic boost to local communities in the state, while the number of farmers markets and direct marketing farmers increased from nine to 124.
When: Wednesday, July 22
• 9-10 a.m., tour of UGArden, 2500 S. Milledge Ave., contact: 770-584-3821
• 11:45 a.m.-noon, tour of Clarke Middle School Summer Garden and Culinary Program
1235 Baxter St., contact: 706-543-6547
• Noon-1 p.m., lunch by Clarke Middle School culinary students, 1235 Baxter St., contact: 706-543-6547
• 1:05-1:35 p.m., tour of West Broad Community Garden, 1573 W. Broad St., 706-613-0122
• 3:30-4:30 p.m., visit Talmage Terrace (Athens Retirement Community) where UGA Campus Kitchen students and partners use local foods to prepare meals for their “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” program, 801 Riverhill Drive, contact: 706-369-7100
• 5-5:30 p.m., tour of Athens Farmers Market, 271 W. Hancock Ave., contact: 832-482-5916