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New $2.5 Million Grant Will Provide Low-Income Angelenos With Better Access To Fresh Food

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Food deserts like our own in South Los Angeles have been drawing more attention in recent years. Last year Ben Affleck even took the Live Below The Line challenge, bringing the issue to light. But a new program called Market Match has been approved to help increase the access to fresh, clean food in the area.

Market Match just received a $2.5 million grant from First 5 L.A., which will allow it to implement its program: low-income families will be provided with matching funds to shop at farmers markets. The program provides up to $10 per week to EBT and WIC recipients.

James Haydu, executive director of Sustainable Economic Enterprises-Los Angeles (SEE-LA), which manages some of the farmers markets where Market Match will be available, told the L.A. Times “this First 5 grant will change the lives of thousands of Angelenos because it will double their buying power...It will not only expand the countywide program, but through the next five years it will make it far easier to be able to quickly explain how the system works to ensure that as many people as possible can take advantage of it."

The program will not only help low-income families, but the small family farms they are purchasing from as well. And there's hope that the program will be able to expand throughout California though the passing of California Assembly Bill 2385, which would set up a Market Match Nutrition Incentive Program in the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

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All in all, it's a good start for setting up a healthier, more equitable food system for Angelenos, Californians, and the nation as a whole.