By Leslie Wustrack
Special to The PREVIEW
This Saturday, Sept. 16, Pagosa Springs residents and visitors are invited to attend a Cooking Matters Colorado free Farmers Market tour.
The tour, celebrating the last Pagosa Farmers Market of 2017, starts at the manager’s booth at 9 a.m. All participants will receive a free $10 Farmers Market voucher, plus SNAP recipients will learn how to earn DoubleUp Food Bucks for fruits and vegetables.
A Cooking Matters Colorado educator will show tour attendees how to navigate the market and share a few valuable nutrition and shopping tips.
Participants will also meet local and regional growers, learn about their businesses and gain information about why eating locally grown foods is nutritious and healthy for themselves and their families. At the culmination of the 75-minute event, participants will receive the $10 voucher, a shopping bag and cost-saving cooking recipes.
SNAP, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service program that replaced food stamps, offers nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. The SNAP program, administered in the area by the Archuleta County Department of Human Services in Pagosa Springs, is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. EBT is an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card.
For each dollar, up to $20 weekly, a SNAP recipient spends at a participating Farmers Market, he/she will receive a matching amount in free fruits and vegetables. Although the Pagosa Farmers Market ends on Sept. 16, local SNAP recipients can enjoy the DoubleUp Food Bucks program at the Durango Farmers Market and Cortez Farmers Market weekly through Oct. 17.
The tour sponsor, Cooking Matters, a national organization with regional headquarters in Durango, helps families to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget, as part of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Recognized by the USDA for excellence in nutrition education, Cooking Matters offers cooking classes for low-income parents in Pagosa Springs on a regular basis. More information about the classes can be obtained during the tour.
The Pagosa Farmers Market is located at the East Side Market in downtown Pagosa Springs, on U.S. 160, two blocks west of the intersection with U.S. 84.
By Leslie Wustrack