New Bedford, MA, is the recipient of $39,000 to increase food security in New Bedford and advance the Sustaining New Bedford Plan goals by promoting use of the SNAP benefits program at city farmers’ markets and enhancing engagement with community gardens. Increased food security means residents will have better access to healthy foods that lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and community gardens are all ways to help connect residents to healthier foods and redeem SNAP benefits.
Grants like these are important to raise the capacity of our communities, but are not enough. Funding the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, established in law in 2014, will help connect the 1 million Massachusetts residents who do not have access to grocery stores to healthy foods. This program would provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support new and expanded healthy food retailers and local food enterprises in low and moderate income communities. This could include supermarkets, corner stores, farmer’s markets, mobile markets, community kitchens, food truck commissaries, indoor and outdoor greenhouses, and food distribution hubs. Better access to healthy food would not only improve public health, but it would generate jobs and lead to economic development in communities that need it most.
New Bedford is one of eight recipients from across North America. This funding comes from Partners for Places and will increase capacity to strengthen the local food system.