Credit: Sofi Gratas/GPB News
Farmers markets for WIC participants are back this summer, for a limited time only
For a limited time, participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — or WIC — have access to Georgia-grown fruits and vegetables from specialty farmer’s markets.
Georgia has some of the highest enrollment in the country in the program, aimed at helping low income families afford food, with nearly 200,000 annual participants.
Now, participating health departments across most of Georgia are hosting farmers markets where WIC vouchers are accepted. Vouchers are redeemable only at the markets as a supplementary measure to other food benefits, though some vendors also take SNAP EBT. The markets started in May and run through September.
Mary Walcott is a nutritionist and WIC program coordinator for the North Central Public Health District. She said letting people know that program is even available, which started a month earlier this year, is key.
“In general, people come in their area,” Walcott said. “So that's why we make sure to do outreach in every county so that every person in every county has an opportunity to be seen.”
The WIC markets typically operate between one and three days in one place before moving on to another town, so they can be easy to miss. That’s why, new for this year, are text alerts to WIC participants about the timing of their local market. Any participant with updated contact information can get those alerts.
Infants, children up to 5 years old, and people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum are eligible for WIC. The federal program mandates income requirements and health screenings to determine “nutritional risks.” More information can be found on the USDA website.
Georgia’s Southern Public Health District will start its markets June 13 in Ben Hill County followed by markets in the Coastal Health District on June 17. For a full list of Georgia’s public health districts, visit the DPH website.
Sofi Gratas is a Report for America corps member covering rural health for GPB.