AdkAction is currently enrolling households in a program designed to help subsidize the cost of locally produced food for families in the North Country. Households who enroll in the Fair Food Pricing program receive 30% off at participating vendors. In times of personal or collective crisis, the discount can temporarily be increased to 90% to provide even more support to households in need.
Eligibility for the program is based on United Way’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) guidelines for income and household size. For example, a two-adult household with two children in childcare, earning an annual income of $78,000 – or a single senior earning $30,400 – is eligible to join the program.
Driving through the rolling hillsides on the shore of Lake Champlain or along the river valleys in the mountains, one will pass many small farms producing vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, maple syrup, and dairy products. These independent farms create jobs, keep money in the local economy, and contribute to the growing agritourism industry, while giving residents and visitors the option to eat fresh local food. Products grown nearby are also better for the planet: locally sourced food spends less time in transit from farm to plate, losing fewer nutrients and incurring less spoilage. The shorter distribution chain also means less food is wasted in transport, warehousing and merchandising; and less fuel is used, generating fewer greenhouse gases.
Despite the many benefits of eating local food, there is one major drawback: it can be prohibitively expensive to purchase. Farming at a small scale, using sustainable methods and paying employees a fair wage, just can’t compete with the economy of scale at a large producer. Too often, the person living just down the road from the idyllic farm can’t afford to buy their products. Fair Food Pricing brings the price in line with what one might pay at the grocery store, while ensuring farmers earn enough to continue their livelihoods.
From the start of the program, participants have been able to use their Fair Food Pricing discount at the Hub on the Hill’s farm store in Essex, or by ordering goods from the Hub’s website for home delivery. This summer, both the Saranac Lake Farmers Market and the Lake Placid Farmers Market also began accepting Fair Food Pricing for all vendors. Tangleroot Farm (Essex) and White Rainbow Farm (Peru) partnered with AdkAction to make a number of farm share subscription boxes available to Fair Food Pricing participants. The Keeseville Pharmacy and Cornerstone Drug in Rouses Point – both of which have storefront ‘Farmacy’ farm stores – will begin accepting Fair Food Pricing in the coming weeks.
One participant in the program recently shared that she is now more engaged in her local community thanks to her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share made possible through Fair Food Pricing. After getting to know her local farmers at weekly CSA pickups, she began volunteering to help out around the farm, bringing her grandchildren with her on the weekends. Connecting people with the farmers and producers who bring them healthy local foods helps create vibrant communities.
The Fair Food Pricing model will continue to build long-term sustainability and resilience in our regional food system as it expands. The program is funded by grants from New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), Adirondack Foundation, and Cloudsplitter Foundation, with additional support from many individual donors.
To learn more about Fair Food Pricing, and to enroll in the program by completing a short application, visit www.AdkAction.org/FFP
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