Thousands of Georgians live in a state of food insecurity, lacking enough food resources to provide for the nutritional needs of their household. Low-income families often rely on federal support through the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), sometimes referred to as food stamps, in order to buy food. However, purchasing fresh, wholesome, locally grown produce still poses a challenge for them. Fresh produce can not only be higher in price but also more difficult to locate in many areas devoid of quality grocery stores or convenient farmers markets.
Wholesome Wave Georgia (WWG) works to increase access to healthy food, partnering with farmers markets to double the value of SNAP dollars spent there—every $1 of SNAP money can buy $2 worth of food at participating markets. These efforts provide more nutritious produce to SNAP beneficiaries, while also expanding the revenue sources for farmers. Founded in 2009, WWG has steadily increased its reach, putting a total of over $1.5 million back into local food economies by leveraging existing government nutrition programs to create financial incentives for low-income shoppers to frequent local farmers markets.
As they grow a network of participants and providers, WWG continually identifies new opportunities to further their mission. Some of the program developments in Atlanta include:
SNAP Screening—Partnering with the Department of Family and Children Services to conduct enrollment sessions and facilitate support for more people
EBT Technical Assistance—Setting up wireless technology necessary to facilitate SNAP at farmers markets
Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program® (FVRx®)—Connecting healthcare providers and farmers’ markets to those with diet-related illnesses
Wholesome Wave Georgia depends on donations and sponsorships to strengthen its resources. The largest annual fundraiser, the Southern Chefs Potluck, brings together premier culinary talent to serve a family-style meal for 250 guests at the Inn at Serenbe. This year’s event will be held on Sunday, September 11, with tickets starting at $150.