I was underwhelmed when I ran across this announcement in my FaceBook feed. Here is the response I posted with the reasons that immediately sprang to mind why it is is more feel-meh, then feel-good.
Food stamp dollars would need to be doubled, or quadrupled, to buy fresh food at farmer’s markets. I feel this is silly in that people who need food stamps, many mothers with small children,
- Can’t afford to go shopping to several different places to get their groceries;
- Farmer’s markets aren’t co-located with the people who use food stamps. Heck, we can’t even get a grocery store. “We won’t put a farmer’s market in Delridge because there aren’t enough people there who will pay 2 dollars for a peach.”
- Why does it matter where a person buys their fresh veggies? Yes, I get the “eat local” mantra, but who knows, really, how far away the farmer’s market vendors are.
One of the things that drives me a little nuts about Seattle, love it though I do, is that frequently our initiatives are more about us looking like we’re doing something that will make us (largely the middle- and upper-class, and white) feel like we’re doing something wonderful. I can well imagine the conversation going something like “surely the Somali woman with six kids, little English, often no car would love to shop at the farmers market. The only thing keeping her from it is that she can’t get 10 more dollars worth of produce at the farmer’s market.”
Maybe I’m wrong, and the people depending on food stamps were consulted on this. Please. Someone. Anyone. Prove to me I’m wrong, that the users were involved in this initiative.