Where to use SNAP benefits

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Making healthy choices with our food can be expensive sometimes, but there are programs to make it a little easier. LaCee Jimenez, from USU Extension’s Create Better Health program, joins me today to talk about how SNAP education programs can help people.

Kailey Foster – One of the areas that Instant Education is looking at is where people can use these perks. So tell me where can people use the SNAP benefits for local produce?

LaCee Jimenez- There are a few options for people who receive SNAP benefits to help them access local products. There are grocery stores statewide that sell locally grown produce and accept SNAP customers. They can use a USDA map called SNAP Retail Locator, and they can locate different stores that they may already be shopping in, and some provide locally grown produce.

SNAP beneficiaries can even buy seeds and the plants start growing their own produce. Another great option we have is Community Supported Agriculture or CSA. This year in Utah, there are about three CSAs that accept SNAP. Then there are also 31 farmers’ markets and farm stalls in Utah that are accepting SNAP now.

KF- For people who may not have had access to this type of food before, how sure are they to make healthy decisions with their food?

LJ- We have a lot of great resources thanks to Create Better Health Snap-ed. We have courses called Create Farm Fresh Food. This course explains how to choose, use and store fresh produce.

Sometimes there is concern that food will spoil and be wasted. Some people may not be used to storing it, so we have courses, materials, and resources to help people. A great place to go to find out more about its courses and programs is our website called CreateBetterHealth.org.

KF- What other programs does Create Better Health offer to help people make or even access healthy choices?

LJ- In addition to the Create Farm Fresh Food courses I mentioned, we have other online courses during the summer. We help people with something we call our creation concept to learn how to take the food they have on hand and create a meal out of it.

In addition to teaching these courses, we also work with partners like the Utah Farm Bureau and the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation to support programs like Farmers Feeding Utah.

We work with local pantries with a program called Thumbs Up for Healthy Choices. This program places signs in pantries so that customers can identify food options that may be healthier for them.

And an excellent program that we have underway this summer of which we have two versions. One is to buy products for your neighbor. And this is where we collect food donations from farmers’ markets and take them to a local pantry. And then we have another version of Share Produce With Your Neighbor, which is the same concept, in areas where there are no farmers’ markets, so people are encouraged to donate their garden.


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