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New partnerships yield farmers markets in food deserts

Posted June 16, 2020

a child at a market looks at the camera
Neighborhood Markets aim to improve access to healthy food, a significant factor in the health status of Americans.

The Tarrant Area Food Bank is bringing Cowtown Neighborhood Farmers Markets to communities designated as food deserts in Tarrant County. This initiative is made possible through a partnership between the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Tarrant Area Food Bank, Cowtown Farmers Market, Tarrant County WIC clinics and Blue Zones Project Fort Worth.

Food deserts — where residents must travel more than a mile to find the nearest supermarket — are a primary cause of food insecurity and malnutrition across Tarrant County.

People in neighborhoods with a poverty rate of 20% or higher also lack access to healthy, affordable food. Lack of access to healthy food has been shown to be a significant factor in the health status of Americans. Increased access and consumption of healthy foods has been shown to improve outcomes for people with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and some types of cancer.

At these farmers markets, shoppers can pay with cash, credit and debit cards or the Lone Star card (SNAP EBT); eligible WIC clients can pay with Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers. Those using their Lone Star card will have the added benefit of having their SNAP dollars doubled through Double Up Food Bucks.

SNAP acceptance and the Double Up Food Bucks program is made possible by Blue Zones Project, an arm of Texas Health Resources that is working to improve healthy food access and affordability in Tarrant County. In response to this season’s increased need for food access in food deserts, Blue Zones Project is providing unlimited matching — normally matched up to $10 a day — throughout the market season.

Markets run through Oct. 1, from 9-11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Markets rotate through five locations across Tarrant County. Shoppers are asked to observe state and local guidance for COVID-19 precautions.

Market locations in Haltom City and White Settlement will be announced soon.

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