$2.5M grant seeks to coax poor families to buy more produce

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First 5 L.A. has provided a $2.5 million grant to expand a program that encourages low-income families on food stamps to buy more fruits and vegetables.

Under the program, called Market Match, families who use their food stamps to buy produce at certain farmers markets are given an extra dollar for each dollar they spend, in some cases up to $10 per week.

The program is already in 14 farmers markets in L.A. County. Beginning this month, it’s being added at four more markets, including the Compton, Vermont Village, Valinda and La Cienega markets.

The goal of the $2.5 million grant is to have the program in 37 L.A. farmers markets within five years.

Advocates for the program say the grant comes at a good time. This year, Congress cut food stamp benefits by more than $8 billion, meaning that poor Californians will get less government help to pay for food each month.

There's more information about Market Match and participating farmers markets at the website for the nonprofit Ecology Center, which runs the program statewide.

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