WOODSTOCK – May 17, 2014. An advocate for local food, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will visit the Woodstock Farmers Market at 12:30 p.m. today to urge more markets to accept Link cards so that all Illinoisans can access healthy, Illinois-grown products.
Simon will salute Woodstock for accepting Link cards since 2010, but note it is in the minority of markets statewide. About a quarter of Illinois’ 400 markets have the technology necessary to run the cards that access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps.
A new Illinois program could help change that, Simon said. Illinois markets can now receive free wireless point-of-sale terminals through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), Xerox, MerchantSource and Total Merchant Services. About one in six Illinoisans rely on Link for food purchases.
“I encourage farmers markets across the state to join Woodstock and open their stands to all residents. We all win when all families can access healthy food at farmers markets and support our local farmers,” Simon said.
The Woodstock Farmers Market has seen an increase in Link activity every year due in part to a double coupon program that helps Link purchases go farther, said market manager Keith Johnson. Donations are now being sought to help fund the coupons that match Link expenditures dollar to dollar for up to $5.
“We are proud to be a part of this and feel the program is good for the Woodstock Farmers Market and good for our community,” Johnson said.
Simon chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, which is working to increase access to local foods as a way to promote healthier eating and spur economic development. She will visit farmers’ markets across the state this season to promote Link access.
The Woodstock Farmers’ Market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays through October in Historic Woodstock Square. It is a producer-only market, meaning everything at the market is grown or produced directly by the vendor selling it. Learn more at www.woodstockfarmersmarket.org
EVENT: Woodstock Farmers Market Tour
TIME: 12:30 to 1 p.m.
DATE: Saturday, May 17
LOCATION: Historic Woodstock Square