Food pantries to add farmers markets, take bridge cards

fresh vegetables at a farmers market

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Five food pantries across Kent County plan to open on-site farm markets later this summer.

The pantries will accept Bridge Cards — with SNAP benefits — in exchange for the locally grown produce. The markets will also sell the fruits and vegetables to pantry neighbors at 50 percent off the retail price, thus improving the community’s access to healthy food.

The Access Farm to Pantry Program will help install the farm markets at the following pantries later this summer:

  • The Other Way Ministries
  • The Pantry
  • SECOM Resource Center
  • UCOM
  • North Kent Connect

The pantries together serve more than 35,000 Kent County residents annually.

The Farm to Pantry Program started in 2016, connecting vulnerable families to Michigan grown fruits and vegetables.

In the program’s first year, farms with the West Michigan Growers Group provided fresh produce to the pantries, which distributed the items to more than 140 families throughout Kent County.

In the second year, with funding from the Heart of West Michigan United Way, the program is adding the on-site farm markets.

To find out more about The Access Farm to Pantry Program visit their website.

Companies and agencies that provided financial and material support to the Farm to Pantry Program include the Heart of West Michigan United Way, Standale Lumber, Kent County Health Department, Michigan Fitness Foundation and the Michigan Health and Wellness 4X4 Plan.

You can find free-standing Farmer’s Markets that accept Bridge cards (SNAP) online.