Francisville: Food Bucks and Farmers Markets

More than 35 percent of adults living in Philadelphia County are obese, according to the Public Health Management Corp.

Representatives from the Department of Public Health said a lack of access to fresh and affordable foods in many Philadelphia neighborhoods may be to blame for this high number.

In response to shocking stats like this one, the city created the Get Healthy Philly initiative – which has already begun making changes throughout the city.

As part of the initiative, the city hopes to bring fresh foods to underserved communities and has already established farmers markets in South Philadelphia, Grays Ferry, Point Breeze and Norris Square.

Like many Philadelphia neighborhoods, there is little to no access to fresh food in Francisville.

Six additional farmers markets are planned for the coming season.

Francisville, which sits within what many planning organizations have called a “food desert,” will likely benefit from one or more of these planned farmers markets.

“We are hoping to establish at least three or four of our remaining six markets in North Philadelphia,” said Dr. Giridhar Mallya, director of public policy and planning for the health department and program director of Get Healthy Philly.

Through a partnership with The Food Trust, these farmers markets will accept Philly Food Bucks, refund-based incentives intended to encourage people to redeem their SNAP or food stamp benefits on fresh food.

Residents will earn $2 in Philly Food Bucks coupons for every $5 in SNAP benefits or food stamps used at a participating farmers market.

“So, we’re not only bringing farmers markets into low income communities, but we’re also making it more possible for people to buy the foods there,” Mallya said.

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