Initiative Includes Double Up Houston Program that Allows SNAP Recipients to Purchase $40 of Produce from Farmers Market for $20
This past Saturday, August 17th, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Clear Channel Outdoor and Urban Harvest launched a public service campaign, including 13 donated billboards, to promote the Double Up Houston program that allows families to use their SNAP benefits to bring home double the amount of fresh locally grown food from participating farmers markets.
The public service campaign was announced at the grand opening of the Northeast Community Farmers Market. The market will operate twice a month at Kashmere Gardens Elementary, 4901 Lockwood. It’s the latest of 12 farmers markets and farm stands that participate in the Double Up Houston program, which is funded by Rebuild Texas Fund.
“Urban Harvest, Rebuild Texas and partners have created an innovative solution to one of Precinct One’s biggest public health issues by opening farmers markets in areas designated as food deserts and doubling the impact of SNAP benefits,” said Commissioner Ellis. “At Precinct One, we’re committed to ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. This will make healthy, fresh foods even more affordable for the families who need it most.”
Keith Downey, president of the Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood Council No. 52, stressed that the market is “sustainable in our community” because it will be open twice a month.
“Why is it at a school?” Downey asked. “You can feed the mind and the body. You don’t want to send a child to school without the proper nutrition.”
In Harris County, 16.6 percent of residents are food insecure, with over 637,000 low-income individuals receiving nutrition assistance. In Precinct One, 18 percent of households receive these benefits compared to 11 percent of households in the other three commissioners’ precincts.
In addition to billboards Clear Channel Outdoor donated to Urban Harvest, the public service campaign includes targeted outreach in areas with high SNAP enrollment to let families know about the program and where to find a participating farmers market.
“Clear Channel Outdoor is proud to support the effort of Urban Harvest to provide healthy alternatives to the community,” said Lee Vela, vice president of public affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor-Houston. “These billboards will generate more than 8 million market impressions over the next month to make sure everyone knows about this program.”
Precinct One also provided residents free bus transportation to the farmers market on Saturday. Commissioner Ellis said Precinct One hopes to pilot a program to provide transportation to farmers markets from its community centers.
“I’m incredibly grateful for Clear Channel Outdoor for donating billboard space to promote this program, to HISD for hosting this garden and to Urban Harvest, Rebuild Texas and all the partners who are helping families access and afford the nutritious food they need to stay healthy and thrive,” said Commissioner Ellis.
About a dozen partners, including Urban Harvest and Kashmere Gardens Elementary, have come together on the project, including Houston Food Bank, Houston Health Department, Texas Hunger Initiative, Memorial Hermann Hospital and Fair Food Network.
Here are other Farmers Market locations:
- Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market, 2752 Buffalo Speedway
- East End Farmers Market, 2800 Navigation Blvd.
- Get Moving Houston Farmers Market, Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 West Montgomery Road
- Get Moving Houston Farmers Market, Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center, 6402 Market St.
- Get Moving Houston Farmers Market, Magnolia Multi-Service Center, 7037 Capitol St.
- Get Moving Houston Farmers Market, Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding St.
- Get Moving Houston Farmers Market, Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Drive
- Get Moving Houston Farmers Market, Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, 9314 Cullen Blvd.
- Hope Farms, Farm Stand, 10401 Scott St.
- Palm Center Farmers Market, 5400 Griggs Road
- Plant it Forward Farms, Farm Stand, 4030 Willowbend Blvd.