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Truro Farmers’ Market helping fight food insecurity

The Truro Farmers' Market is a popular spot on Saturday mornings. The Nourishing Communities pilot project is allowing more people to enjoy what the market has to offer.
The Truro Farmers' Market is a popular spot on Saturday mornings. The Nourishing Communities pilot project is allowing more people to enjoy what the market has to offer. - Fram Dinshaw
TRURO, N.S. —

The Nourishing Communities Food Bucks pilot project has just begun, but Margaret Congdon has already seen positive effects.
The project provides people experiencing food insecurity with tokens that can be spent at local farmers’ markets. The tokens are the same as those sold to the public.
“It helps people get high-quality local food and there’s also a social angle, with them coming to the market and building community,” said Congdon, who is manager of the Truro Farmers’ Market. “Two participants have already volunteered to help with projects at the market.
“All the money gets spent here at the market so it’s a boost to vendors, too.”
Funding from Communities, Culture and Heritage enabled the project to be established at five Nova Scotia markets. Along with Truro, the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, Windsor’s Avon Community Farmers’ Market, Wolfville Farmers’ Market, and the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market are participating. 
“We all worked with community partners,” said Congdon. “We teamed with Maggie’s Place and the Colchester branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, who helped identify families experiencing food insecurity.”
She said about $10,000 has been provided to the Truro area and the project has 17 participants. It will run until Dec. 21.
This pilot project is built upon programming in British Columbia and is an expansion of work done for three seasons at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market and one at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market.
In 2015, a study found Nova Scotia’s food insecurity rates were the highest in the country, with seniors being particularly vulnerable.
“Hopefully, this will expand next year,” said Congdon. “We have 31 markets in the province and it would be great to offer this at all of them.”

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