The University of Utah’s annual Farmers’ Market is back in full swing, providing students with fresh new ways to expand their diets, while also supporting local businesses. Students and recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who visit the market this season have the unique opportunity to use a program called “Double Your Dollars,” which allows participants to buy double the amount of groceries for half the cost.
The program is accessible and easy to use. To participate, the shopper can buy up to five tokens from the Market Directors booth, which each count as a two-dollar credit to spend on produce, baked goods and other food items at almost any vendor station at the market.
“The Double Your Dollars program does a fantastic job of making local and healthy food more available to students and creating opportunities for local business owners,” assistant manager Jessica Kemper said.
The program was designed to enable more people within the campus community to maximize the amount of new and nutritious foods they are able to bring home in a cost effective way.
As the Farmers Market begins its tenth season at the U, many students are already enjoying the wide range of fresh options it provides. “College students tend to eat pretty cheaply, so I think this is a nice way to get people to eat well,” said Wendy Nimens, a graduate student at the U who frequently visits the market and has participated in Double Your Dollars before.
About 250 students have already taken advantage of the program by buying tokens during the first two markets this season. The success is expected to continue as more students learn about the program, Kemper said.
Roy Brambila, an undergraduate student at the U, said Double Your Dollars has reduced financial barriers that could restrict some from shopping at the market. “It’s great because it makes food a lot less expensive, which can sometimes hold people back.”
Along with making fresh, local foods more accessible, the Farmers Market also gives students new perspectives on international culture. The market always hosts diverse vendors such as Tamales Tita, a vender serving eight different kinds of tamales, and Spudnik which sells Eastern European-style baked potatoes. There are over 30 vendors at each Thursday market offering a variety of healthy and culturally rich food choices.
The Farmers Market, operated by the U’s Sustainability Office, runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday through Oct. 5. It is located on the west side of the Union building. Double Your Dollars tokens may be purchased from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Market Manager’s tent, or until tokens run out. For more information about the Farmers Market and Double Your Dollars, visit https://sustainability.utah.