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Vouchers Increase Produce Access (VIPA) is an innovative new pilot program designed to increase access to affordable, local and fresh food for low-income citizens in Montgomery County. For a three-month trial period this July- September, partners including New River Health District, the Family Nutrition Program, the Department of Social Services, and the Community Health Center are distributing $10 vouchers for the Christiansburg Farmers Market to their clients. This program is being funded by the Community Foundation of the New River Valley. Each voucher contains information about the Market (including hours of operation and   location), the SNAP Double Value Program (an existing incentive program at the CFM that doubles SNAP benefits up to $10 each Farmers Market), as well as information on how to get involved with the Farmacy Garden (a community garden in downtown Christiansburg that offers a fresh produce in exchange for helping in the garden). By streamlining outreach efforts project partners are able to educate low-income consumers about the accessibility and affordability of local foods, while providing them a direct incentive to try the CFM for the first time. Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition program will also be providing cooking demonstrations, recipes, and nutrition education at the market. For more information, contact: maureen.mcgonagle@gmail.com.

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