Local Government and Politics, News

State House Speaker Robert DeLeo will visit Revere Farmers’ Market to talk about HIP

REVERE — Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Robert DeLeo will visit the Revere Farmers’ Market this week to talk about a program that benefits farmers when customers use state assistance to purchase their produce.

The farmers’ market will be at 249 Broadway Friday at noon.

The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) doubles the value of purchases of fresh, healthy, local fruits and vegetables when Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, are used to purchase products directly from farmers, farm stands, and farmers’ markets.  

The program also works when recipients use their monthly benefits to purchase food at mobile markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms.

It is intended to improve health outcomes in some of the state’s most vulnerable communities, while increasing sales for Massachusetts farms.

“Supporting programs that provide healthy foods to needy residents is critical to the health of the Commonwealth,” said DeLeo in a statement.

DeLeo was a leader in the legislature’s effort to secure $4 million in funding for the program in the state’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which Governor Baker signed into law in July.

“We’re proud to partner with the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative and the Revere Farmers’ Market to highlight how to increase access to healthy foods while supporting our local agricultural economy,” he said.

More than 39,000 households and more than 200 farms and farmers’ markets participated in the program in its first year of operation, and earned approximately $4.2 million in incentives.

“To see young families grabbing healthy products invigorates me and tells me that I’m doing the right thing as a farmer,” said Dave Dumaresq, owner of Farmer Dave’s in Dracut, which sells at the Revere market.

The program allows Dumaresq to support the health of Massachusetts residents by making it easier for them to eat healthy, locally-grown produce, he said.

“(The program) allows so many more people to access this healthy food that otherwise may not be able to,” said Dumaresq.

The program launched in 2017 and is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), in partnership with the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) and the Department of Public Health (DPH). It is supported by a network of agriculture, food access, and public health stakeholder organizations.

More information about HIP can be found at http://mass.gov/hip/ and https://mafoodsystem.org/projects/HIP/.

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