The Brainerd Farmers’ Market announces a significant expansion of its “Double SNAP Dollars” program. Thanks to a one-time donation, the market is now able to match dollar-for-dollar all SNAP food purchases through the end of the market season in December. The market has already been matching SNAP dollars on the first Saturday of each month with funds provided by Grace Episcopal Church and a grant from the Diocese of East Tennessee. “The Brainerd Farmers’ Market has been dedicated from the beginning to making fresh, local produce available to our community,” said Market Director Catherine Durham. “With this donation, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make fresh food twice as affordable for our SNAP customers every week and, at the same time, support local farmers.
The Brainerd Farmers' Market was the first local farmers' market in Hamilton County to accept EBT cards and has since inspired other area markets to take the same meaningful step. The 17.4% of families living in poverty in Hamilton County primarily get food for their families through U. S. Government Food Assistance projects - (EBT, SNAP, WIC). In 2013, 16% of the market fresh produce sales were to SNAP customers. The mission of the Brainerd Farmers’ Market is to make local organic and sustainably grown produce available and affordable to the Chattanooga Brainerd community and to encourage healthy local food choices for Brainerd residents through educational and financial assistance projects for low-income market patrons. Outreach for the “Double SNAP Dollars” program is made possible through a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. SNAP recipients may bring their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to the market and obtain tokens which may be used to purchase fresh local produce, dairy products, meat products, honey, preserves, baked goods, plants used to produce food at home and much more.
The Brainerd Community Farmers’ Market is held from 10 a.m. - noon on Saturdays from May 3 through December 20. "Farmers located within fifty miles present their freshly harvested, naturally grown produce, farm fresh eggs, dairy and meat products. Bakers bring delicious artisan breads, sweets and pastries, and fine artists; musicians and craftsmen round out the festive market," officials said. Grace Episcopal Church, a 501(c) 3 non-profit, provides fiscal sponsorship and the physical location for the weekly farmers' market. Grace Episcopal Church is located at 20 Belvoir Ave., across from the Bi-Lo on Brainerd Road.