AFMA Programs Support Our Food System From Producer to Consumer

Exciting things are happening in Alaska’s farmers markets.  In 2023, the Alaska Farmers Market Association (AFMA) introduced two impactful programs: the AFMA Market Match Program, and the Local Food Purchase Assistance (LFPA) Program. These programs have helped make our farmers markets and food hubs more than a space for fresh produce and community building, but also a pivotal player for community food security and bolstering local agriculture.

The AFMA Market Match Program is a lifeline for individuals using SNAP benefits, along with WIC and Senior FMNP benefits. The program doubles the value of these benefits at participating markets. The match amplifies purchasing power for fresh, local produce and helps producers get more Alaska-grown goods to consumers at a reasonable cost. Consider this: $40 in SNAP benefits suddenly buys $80 worth of local foods. The results speak for themselves – over $12,000 doubled and more than $44,000 in Quest purchases made last season. Additionally, a $15 boost for WIC FMNP vouchers further expanded access to nutritious foods, by over $23,000.

The Local Food Purchase Assistance (LFPA) Program is equally transformative. It focuses on sourcing fresh produce directly from Alaskan farmers and fishers, funneling over $80,000 worth of goods to anti-hunger groups like food banks, elder programs, and soup kitchens. This approach benefits everyone involved – providing fresh food to those in need while ensuring fair compensation for local producers.

These initiatives do more than just feed people; they reinforce local economies and the agricultural sector, contributing to a robust, resilient food system. They highlight the critical role of farmers’ markets in not only offering fresh produce but also in supporting the livelihoods of Alaskan consumers and growers.