As we closed Namaste Farm Stand’s second season with a celebration dinner, community members told us about their experiences at the stand. Hear what they had to say in our new video: Maria told us that easy access to fresh vegetables helped her control her diabetes. Clo said that her body was healing, and that she also felt better in mind and spirit. Melody shared that she’d lost 60 pounds in the five months since she started visiting the farm stand. She said she learned about nutrition from our partners at WSU Extension’s Food $ense, who provided cooking demonstrations at our Tukwila location. [caption id="attachment_2607" align="aligncenter" width="500"] WSU Extension's Food $ense team and FIN staff provided a total of 28 demos of how to turn farm stand produce into delicious meals and snacks. Bike blender smoothies facilitated by Anna from Food $ense were always popular items.[/caption] Maria, Clo, and Melody were among hundreds of community members who visited Namaste Farm Stand in Tukwila and SeaTac this season, which ran from early June until late October. We sold fruits, vegetables, and herbs from local producers including IRC New Roots’ Community Garden (Tukwila), Faith Beyond Farms (Enumclaw), and Collins Family Orchard (Selah) at affordable prices. [caption id="attachment_2609" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Community members who grow food at New Roots' Namaste Community Garden helped prepare our celebration dinner.[/caption] The farm stand launched in 2017 with 10 farm stand days at Matt Griffin YMCA in SeaTac. In 2018, we added a second location at Tukwila Village Plaza and extended the number of stand days to 39. In August, we were approved to accept SNAP/EBT, and began doubling customers’ EBT dollars through the Fresh Bucks program. Namaste Farm Stand is operated by Food Innovation Network and International Rescue Committee’s New Roots program with support from the City of Tukwila, Kona Kai, Communities of Opportunity, Les Dames d’ Escoffier, Matt Griffin YMCA, SHAG, and WSU Extension. Thanks to our partners, food producers, and customers for a fantastic season! We look forward to starting our third season in June of 2019. [caption id="attachment_2608" align="aligncenter" width="500"] We had a great time eating fresh produce with our wonderful community at our celebration dinner.[/caption]
We are thrilled to announce that Namaste Farm Stand has been authorized to accept EBT benefits and Fresh Bucks coupons! People have been asking to use EBT benefits at the farm stand since our grand opening. We knew it was a need; our community survey results showed people would use their EBT benefits at the farm stands, and SeaTac and Tukwila has some of the highest SNAP participation rates in King County. Tukwila has the highest rate among seniors 65 and older – 30 percent use SNAP benefits compared to the countywide average of 12 percent. Starting at our Tukwila location on Aug. 15, and in SeaTac later this month (stay tuned for the exact date), community members will be able to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from the weekly farm stand using their EBT dollars (also known as SNAP, Basic Food or Food Stamps). In addition, EBT cardholders can get a dollar-for-dollar match through the Fresh Bucks program.
The challengeWe began the application process last fall, but had a challenging time moving forward largely due our unique model. We’re not a farmers market. We’re not the farmers. We’re a mobile farm stand operated by a nonprofit that buys wholesale from local growers to then sell directly to the community. This all made it challenging to check of the necessary boxes in the application and submit. However, thanks to the dedication of many partners, we were able to get clear guidance from USDA’s Food Nutrition Services (FNS), the federal agency that manages EBT retailer authorization. We would like to extend a BIG thank you to partners that helped us through the application process. FIN and IRC’s New Roots Program received support from King County Public Health, WSU SNAP-Ed and WA Farmers Market Association.
How Fresh Bucks worksCustomers purchasing fruits and vegetables with their EBT card get matching Fresh Bucks equal in value to the fresh produce purchased ($2-for-$2 in Fresh Bucks). For example, the customer purchases $6 of fresh fruits and vegetables using their EBT card. They then get $6 in Fresh Bucks to spend on produce in another transaction. The Fresh Bucks do not need to be used at that time—they expire at the end of year and can be used at any participating location.
Help us spread the word!We need your support to raise awareness in the community. Please:
- Post and share this flier around the community.
- Distribute these fliers to community members, clients, or program participants.
- Share this Facebook video:
- Create your own Facebook video in other languages. Don’t forget to tag Food Innovation Network.
- Request a presentation by FIN staff or Community Food Advocate to come talk to about this and other food resources in the community. We can come to classes, workshops and community meetings and present in many different languages. If interested, please email Kamal Adhikari at email@example.com.
- Visit Namaste Farm Stand and get some fresh, local fruits and veggies!
Please visit our Markets page for current information about Namaste Farm Stand and Tukwila Village Farmers Market!
We’re thrilled to announce our community farm stand is returning this season, and has added a second location! We will host Namaste Farm Stand weekly at two locations: Matt Griffin YMCA in SeaTac and the new Tukwila Village Plaza near the Tukwila Library. Last year, FIN and our partner, International Rescue Committee’s New Roots program, hosted a farm stand for 10 weeks at the Matt Griffin YMCA, and the local fresh fruits and vegetables for sale were a hit. This year we’re excited to double the length of our season, now running June through October, and also add the Tukwila location. Namaste Farm Stand will sell fruits and vegetables from local producers including IRC New Roots’s Community Garden (Tukwila), Faith Beyond Farms (Enumclaw), and Collins Family Orchard (Selah). Each week we’ll do a cooking demo showing ways to prepare and cook the variety of produce for sale. We are fortunate to have great partners and funders in making this project happen. FIN and IRC New Roots would like to thank: City of Tukwila, Kona Kai, Communities of Opportunity, Les Dames d’ Escoffier, Matt Griffin YMCA, SHAG, and WSU Extension. Please join us for the Grand Opening at the Tukwila Village Plaza on Wednesday, June 13 from 4-7 p.m. We’ll have fresh produce for sale, as well as kids’ activities, cooking demonstrations, raffles, and live international music. And get your fresh fruits and vegetables from our local growers all season long! We'll operate two farm stands weekly from 4-7 p.m.: