St. Helena Farmers’ Market: Healthy eating for all

September 6, 2022 by Ann Costelloe in the St. Helena Star

The St. Helena Farmers’ Market is committed to supporting our local community by providing a place to find, connect and learn about healthy foods and habits from local resources and growers. The market has become the access point for many essential services and one of our most important, and growing, is the SHFM Market Match Program.

Now more than ever, food insecurity remains a real problem in the Upvalley community. Recent events further compound the impacts on our community, including job losses, economic pressures, housing displacement and inflation driving up the cost of food.

The Market Match program provides CalFresh recipients with matched funds to increase their purchasing power of healthy foods available at the market. This program began by way of the City of St. Helena nonprofit grant program. As St. Helena is a small town, our population prohibits the farmers’ market from qualifying for other CalFresh/EBT (electronic benefits transfer card) programs, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the market is able to offer this valuable match. Funds from the city grant plus other supporting donations from private individuals and the Napa Valley Community Foundation (all of which are tax-deductible) fund our program. Our partners, the UpValley Family Centers and Charles Krug Winery, assist with outreach to qualified CalFresh recipients.

The St. Helena Farmers’ Market directly reaches residents of St. Helena and neighboring communities who are most in need and who will benefit directly from the opportunity to access and purchase healthy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, breads and cereals, and seeds and plants that produce food. Benefits are easily redeemed at our General Store every Friday during our season. For every dollar redeemed on an EBT card, the program provides double the amount in tokens to be used for qualified purchases from our vendors.

We look forward to seeing our loyal market-goers who are participants in the program every week and hope to increase the number of people we are able to serve. If you would like more information about the program, stop by our General Store or check out the information at CalFresh (cdss.ca.gov/calfresh) to find out more.

To further support a healthy community, join us during the month of September in our Market Classroom where the theme is “Healthy Harvest & Healthy Lives,” and don’t miss Lauren Muscatine of Napa County Seed Exchange, who will be presenting a lecture at 10:30 a.m. on the topic of “Saving Seeds.” The St. Helena Hospital Foundation’s Mobile Van will also be at the market from 7.30 a.m. to noon offering free health screening (blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, cholesterol) as well as COVID-19 vaccinations for people age 5 and older. See you there.

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