Food stamp, debit card system introduced at 'National Farmers Market' week

WINOOSKI The city of Winooski kicked off National Farmers Market week with a celebration of its new Food Stamp/Debit Card program.

Addressing the crowd last Thursday afternoon in front of the Champlain Mill, Gov. Jim Douglas congratulated the city for its efforts to provide nutritional food to low income residents by accepting food stamps. The new Food Stamp/Debit Card system is one of three pilot programs in the state, Douglas said. In addition to food stamps, the new system is setup to accept EBT cash, most debit cards and farm to family coupons.

It was also announced that products from the Winooski Farmers Market would be available at a community kitchen being planned at a new community center on Malletts Bay Avenue.

Douglas visited most of the booths at the farmers market chatting with local growers and craftspeople about the program. At one point, a local television reporter could be seen waving a leafy veggie in front of the governors face presumably seeking his opinion on the crop.

A representative of Sen. Patrick Leahys office urged residents to support the federal food stamp program as well as the pending Farm Bill in Congress. John Tracy noted that nationwide only 15 cents on every food dollar goes to farmers and that there were many people in this country who still go to bed hungry.

After the speeches, live music was provided by Wayne DeVaul who described himself as a singer, songwriter, entertainer and humanitarian. A dream pillow demonstration was offered by Purple Shutter Herbs.

Free wood-fired pizza from a portable oven was served up by representatives of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont.

Information about the Winooski Farmers Market, held weekly on Thursday afternoons beginning at 3:30 p.m., is available from Julia Jackson at 655-6410 ext. 13.

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