"AT A MONTHLY WINTER FARMERS market run by Roots Rising in Pittsfield, shoppers can buy apples, canned tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions, and winter squash. A shopper using SNAP benefits can spend $1 to buy $2 of produce under the state’s Healthy Incentives Program, or HIP.Continue reading the article online
But as of Feb. 24, shoppers on public benefits will no longer get that extra money. The state is suspending HIP for the winter, with plans to restore it May 15. State officials say the program – which doubles the impact of SNAP benefits when produce is bought from a participating farm – is a victim of its own success and has outgrown its budget.
Without a temporary suspension of the program, state officials say its $6.5 million state appropriation would run out quickly and no money would be left during the busier buying and growing season this summer.
Advocates for farmers and low-income individuals say the loss of HIP will hurt shoppers and sellers. Recently, 89 legislators wrote to Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Amy Kershaw protesting the suspension, and the lack of notice."
Winter Farmers Market
When: Sat, February 15, 10am – 2pm
Where: Fairmount Fruit Farm, 887 Lincoln St, Franklin, MA 02038, USA (map)
Description: A winter farmers market where local farms and crafters/vendor
s can gather together to sell products and network within their community