The Waterfront Farmers Market returned to Gig Harbor June 1, bringing more farm-fresh options and midweek entertainment to Gig Harbor’s downtown.
New to the market this year is Fresh Bucks, the product of a four-year grant used for the Washington Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) Project. The project works to improve nutrition for low-income households that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), increasing these families’ purchases of fruit and vegetables.
The $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was awarded to the Washington State Department of Health in 2015. The program has been expanded to include five new markets this year, including the Waterfront Farmers Market.
The FINI program provides cash incentives at the point of purchase in farmers markets through the Fresh Bucks program, where bonus funds are given by farmers to SNAP shoppers who buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
Partners on the FINI project in Pierce County include MultiCare, the Department of Social and Health Services, Safeway Foundation and Safeway Inc., Washington State Farmers Market Association, UnitedHealthcare, University of Washington and Washington State University Extension.
The Waterfront Farmers Market is held from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 31 in Skansie Brothers Park in downtown Gig Harbor.