AdkAction nets $225K for food security program

A Fair Food Card is used at North Country Creamery’s self-serve farm store in Keeseville. (Provided photo)

AdkAction has been awarded $225,000 for a food subsidy program that uses technology to help address the problem of food insecurity in the Adirondack region.

A $200,000 grant from Mother Cabrini Health Foundation and a $25,000 Health Equity Innovation Award from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will fund the Fair Food Program and other AdkAction food security work in 2024.

The AdkAction Fair Food Program aims to put the purchase of locally-produced foods in reach for people hovering just above the poverty line, while prioritizing their ability to choose the types of food to purchase for their families. Instead of driving low income individuals into the emergency food system, it allows families in need to shop just like everyone else. Qualified households use prepaid swipe cards, called Fair Food Cards, to purchase sustainably-produced food sold by over a dozen local farm vendors, including many who sell their goods at area farmers’ markets and their own farm stores. The cards are replenished monthly with stipend amounts based on household size.

To qualify for the pro-gram, participants must be located in Clinton, Franklin, Essex or Hamilton counties and confirm that their income falls at or below the threshold defined by the United Way’s ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) guidelines. There is currently a waiting list for participation in the program.

The Fair Food Program grew out of the pandemic-response Emergency Food Packages project launched by AdkAction in 2020, and has grown to work with 75 households and 15 area farms and food processors. Over $130,000 in direct subsidies have been distributed and spent locally since the launch of the swipe card program in 2022.

The Fair Food swipe card program is one component of AdkAction’s food security work, which includes distributing free farm shares, increasing rural grocery access and supporting community gardens.

“The mission of all our food security efforts at AdkAction is to create a community-based food system in which all residents can participate and prosper, while supporting our local farmers and food processing businesses,” said Hannah Grall, AdkAction program manager. “We are incredibly grateful to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and numerous individual donors who make the Fair Food Program possible, helping us bring the offerings of our region to so many.”

More information about the Fair Food Program and AdkAction’s other food security work in the region can be found at adkaction.org/food-security.


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