Two programs are available to incentivize low-income individuals to shop for fresh, locally-grown produce at the Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients are encouraged to visit the info booth and swipe their LINK cards to use their benefits. When doing so, Alton Main Street will double their dollars, giving shoppers twice the buying power for fresh fruits and vegetables every time they shop. $1,600 in grant funding has been distributed to date, and $9,364 is still available this season.
The market runs through Oct. 20 in the parking lot at the corner of Landmarks Boulevard and Henry Street every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon and on Wednesday evening from 4 to 7 p.m.
Again this year, Senior Nutrition Vouchers will provide $25 worth of free produce to all low-income individuals with limited income living in Madison County who are over 60 years of age. New in 2018, instead of the coupons being distributed at the market, they must be picked up in advance at IMPACT, located at 2735 East Broadway in Alton (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for the noon hour).
The income guideline for a one-person household is gross monthly income at or below $1,870, for a 2-person household the guideline is $2,536. Applicants must bring a photo I.D. when they pick up their vouchers, and if the senior receives SNAP benefits, their LINK card can be shown along with the voucher booklet at the market Info booth to have the $25 doubled.
Alton Main Street aims to improve access to healthy food thanks to the Illinois EBT Wireless Project grant funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. SNAP benefits (formerly known as LINK and food stamps) are accepted by many vendors.
This year marks the 26th season of the Market, organized by Alton Main Street as part of the organization’s efforts to revitalize the Downtown Alton historic district. The events feature a variety of products that are handmade or homegrown within a 50-mile radius.
Live entertainment and other special activities are scheduled for every Saturday throughout the season. Vendors and visitors can visit www.DowntownAlton.com
PHOTO: A scene from the market in 2017.