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Delicious apples, juicy peaches, luscious blueberries, glorious greens all Michigan grown, are in season now that can be purchased at local farmers markets or farm stands. Summer provides WIC families an opportunity to experience the taste of Michigan through Project FRESH. This program provides nutritious produce to WIC clients while creating an economic benefit for local farmers. The program gives families with children under age five a booklet of coupons worth $25 that they can use to buy fresh, unprepared, Michigan-grown fruit and vegetables at area farmers markets and participating farm stands. In partnership with MSU Extension program, clients were offered live/virtual nutrition lessons on how to utilize Project FRESH coupons. These coupons can be redeemed between June 1st and Oct. 31.
Our 2021 WIC Project FRESH has been off to a great start! So far, we distributed coupon booklets at the Health Department Drive Thru, at the Kerry Town Farmers Market in Ann Arbor, and at our “Welcome to the Milky Way” Breastfeeding event for Expecting Mothers in Ypsilanti. Washtenaw County WIC has issued 152 coupon booklets to over a 100 families so far.
We were able to provide one-on-one education on how to use these coupons in a safe way by handing booklets and reusable shopping bags directly to client vehicles. At the Kerrytown Farmers Market, the families were able to have physically distanced interactions with staff and could use the coupons to shop on the same day at the Market!
There will be more Project FRESH distribution days throughout August and September at the Ann Arbor Kerrytown Market, the Ypsilanti Downtown Market, and the Ypsilanti Depot Town Market. We hope to see many more families receive coupon booklets and use them to purchase fresh and local produce from farmers! WIC participants can call 734-544-6800 to learn more about how to get connected to Project FRESH resources.
Thank you to all staff involved with Project FRESH. Special recognition to our interns who coordinated the program intricacies and distributed coupon booklets to families along with education: Anjani Raja, UM undergrad WIC intern; Kaitlyn Rau, UM Dietetic Intern; Keerthana Akella, Smith College Graduate, volunteer.