Every Wednesday morning, farmers set out their wares in a parking lot in southwest Fort Worth for the Cowtown Farmers Market.
"This is the other side of the food bank that people don't see," said Julie Butner, Tarrant Area Food Bank president and CEO. "And that is to provide access so that, as people come out of crisis and can stand on their own, they have access to fresh produce that they can purchase themselves."
TAFB partners with the Cowtown Farmers Market and others in the area for its Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Customers can use WIC and SNAP/EBT benefits to buy fresh produce.
"We're bringing these markets to communities that do not have access," Butner said. "It just ensures that everybody has equal access to fresh produce and good nutrition."
"We love fresh produce," said customer Kaylee Holland, who used her WIC vouchers to buy bags of fresh squash and greens. "Even though it is so hot today, I would rather be here looking at the fresh stuff than in the grocery store."
Cowtown Farmers Market Manager Charlie Blaylock can see his younger self in the kids who come by his farm stand.
"We were needy. My parents worked very hard," Blaylock said. "I see people — really friendly people — that need a little hand, and I'm ok with that."
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The Farmers Market Nutrition Program partnership with Texas Health Resources, Blue Zones and Texas Healthy Communities allows shoppers using vouchers and token to double their value.
"We all get to build more community together a little at a time," Blaylock said.
The Tarrant Area Food Bank Farmers Market Nutrition program has several location and times. Visit their website for more information.