Thirty five of our refugee families (39 adults and 40 children) had a fun and "fruitful" afternoon at the Main Street Station Farmers' Market in July. Each family received special nutrition coupons to buy locally grown food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, and meat. It was wonderful to see lots of happy faces and to hear comments such as:
"Thank you for helping us afford healthy food for our children to eat."
"I found eggplants that looked like the ones I get from my home country. I can't wait to cook maqluba [traditional Syrian dish] again for my family. It is my daughter's favourite."
"This market reminds me of home. We did not know that markets like this exist in Vancouver". These feelings of familiarity and nice memories are precious for everyone, especially for refugee families.
The Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program is an initiative of the BC Association of Farmers Markets, sponsored by the BC Government's Ministry of Health. Thanks to the generous funding received from Whole Foods Market, the Vancouver Fresh to Families project started in 2015. This partnership between Vancouver Farmers Markets, Mount Pleasant Family Centre's Circles of Care and Connection program, MOSAIC, VCH Healthiest Babies Possible Program, and Public Health Dietitians has the goal to secure funding to expand the current number of families receiving the nutrition coupons in Vancouver. While supporting local farming (every dollar spent goes back to farmers), the Coupon Program enables lower-income BC families to purchase locally grown, fresh food.