COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With more Americans experiencing food insecurity over the past year during the pandemic, two non-profit organizations are working together to provide the Chattahoochee Valley with healthy and affordable produce.
Wholesome Wave Georgia is partnering with MercyMed Farm to bring the Columbus community the ‘Georgia Plant 2 Plate’ program - although it’s open to everyone, the group encourages SNAP recipients to purchase fruits and vegetables at a low price.
“It’s a great way to increase nutrition access and food access - and also a way to support local farmers and local producers and strengthen local food systems,” said Alex Duncan, Plant 2 Plate manager.
The Plant 2 Plate program aims to empower families, specifically on SNAP benefits, to grow their own food at home during the pandemic.
“Disruptions to the food chain, folks going to grocery stores and seeing shelves empty, and we knew that local farmers were still growing and still producing - also, folks were at home more often and were looking for things to do with each other - and we thought, plant sales,” said Duncan.
The plant sale is open to the public, but those with an EBT card can purchase fruit and vegetable starter plants at half the price grown out of MercyMed Farm.
“If we can affect how much people are spending on their food, they’re more likely to buy that food. So we’re producing organic, locally grown, nutritionally dense food at not just an affordable rate but a cheap rate,” Keith Sim, MercyMed manager.
“It’s very empowering,” said Victoria Leggett-Adams, attendee. “It’s not like we’re coming in and telling you how to help yourself - it’s very like, ‘here, we’re a tool for you.”
This is the second Plant 2 Plate program this year, and program manager Alex Duncan says they have much more in store.
“It’s just fun. It’s like, everyone’s eyes light up, especially families who bring kids,” said Duncan.
“We’re capturing peoples’ eyes and attention through affordable food,” said MercyMed Manager Keith Sims. “And we’re affecting people’s wallets, and that’s translating into people eating healthy.”
And for all the plants and vegetables that didn’t get sold Saturday, Sims says they will be sold at Mercy Med next Friday.