Guest post by Sandy Veilleux, owner of Flora Bama Farms. FBF is a farmers market in Pensacola that recently installed free EBT-processing equipment from the Florida Department of Children and Families and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
One Halloween when I was a child I volunteered to carve what seemed like hundreds of pumpkins. Why? To put them on the lights of the fire trucks and police cars as holiday décor for their patrols around the neighborhoods to keep residents safe. It was a pretty amazing – and unique – volunteer experience, and one my dad still likes to tell tall tales about.
The pumpkin effort was just one of the many volunteer activities I got myself into when I was young. My parents volunteered endless hours to help their community. It was instilled in me at a very young age that you always give back as much as you can.
Now, as an adult, what I know about most is food. So I am doing everything I can to find ways to make sure “farm-to-table” really includes everybody’s table. We want to stretch people’s money so they can eat really well and have the freshest food available.
Installing the free EBT-processing equipment from DCF and the USDA was just one quick way we can make it easier for people of all income levels to have access to great food – all while supporting local farmers! I just attach a bumper buddy to my iPhone and it’s done. It hooks up automatically to a printer, so it has been really easy to use. And did I mention it is FREE? Can’t get any better than that!
Our farmers Markets has partnered up with “Four Blades of Grass,” a chef based effort that provides fresh food to stuff backpacks for kids in school. Our kids are our future. You can’t grow minds on an empty stomach.
These are just small ways we give back that are so easy for us to do because we know food. Giving people access to the things we know and the resources we have just makes sense.
I encourage all Florida farmers markets to take advantage of this free equipment. If your family is going to the market this weekend, be sure to ask if they accept EBT. It’s just one small way to make a huge difference in the health of your community.