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New Seasons Market has awarded $91,000 to 36 nonprofit organizations supporting small farmers and increasing access to fresh local food though its Grant Fund. This year, the fund was able to distribute the most dollars to the most grantees in a single year since the program launched in 2007.
“New Seasons Market turned 14 at the end of February, and since day one, we’ve had the twin goals of strengthening our neighborhoods and helping family farmers connect with the community,” said Claudia Knotek, community relations manager for the Portland, Ore.-based grocer. “The Grant Fund is a great way to achieve these goals. The steady growth of the Fund has meant New Seasons can work with even more great organizations, and continue to help Oregon’s regional food community thrive.”
Twenty-nine of the 36 grantees are farmers markets located throughout the Portland-Vancouver region. The majority will use some or all of their grant funds to match Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars, making it easier for low-income shoppers to enjoy fresh, local produce—and putting additional dollars back into the pockets of farmers from the area.
Every year, New Seasons donates 10 percent of its after-tax profits to local nonprofits across the Portland-Vancouver area. The New Seasons Market Grant Fund designates a portion of these dollars to support organizations that build a sustainable, local food marketplace, while also helping promote food security, nutrition and economic stability. To date, the fund has distributed $538,650.
Oregon City Farmers Market
Oregon City Farmers Market has received funding for the last five years. In four of those years, the market has used New Seasons grant dollars to fund a matching SNAP program. The program has benefited more than 2,000 shoppers over the last four years and is a beloved part of the Market experience.
“Year after year we get dozens of comments from low-income shoppers thanking us and thanking New Seasons Market,” said Market Manager Jackie Hammond-Williams. “Oregon City has many income-challenged families living on a very thin budget, and it’s a powerful thing to consistently hear that people are able to feed their families better and healthier food because of the matching dollars program. I am so grateful to have a partner like New Seasons Market to make that kind of impact possible.”
In addition to providing funds to local farmers markets, grants were awarded to a number of nonprofits working to improve the viability of small local producers through mentoring and education, including:
- Chefs Collaborative, Portland
- Food | Waves
- Friends of Family Farmers
- The Grain Gathering/Bread Lab
- Mercy Corps Northwest’s Refuge Gardens
- Oregon Farmers’ Market Association
- Food Works
- Zenger Farm
Founded in 2000, New Seasons operates 13 stores in the Portland-Vancouver area. Four additional stores are scheduled to open between fall 2014 and fall 2015.