WIC nutrition program forms unique partnership with local farmers markets

Starting this weekend, the Lawrence-Douglas County WIC (Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition) program will launch a unique pilot project. The pilot will make the Lawrence-Douglas County WIC program the first in Kansas where WIC clients can redeem fruit and vegetable checks through approved farmers market vendors. To accept and cash WIC fruit and vegetable checks, vendors must attend a WIC training to become authorized. Authorized vendors are required to post a WIC-approved sign.

“The goal of this pilot is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among WIC clients and improve access to local produce,” said Jennifer Church, WIC coordinator at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. “We’re excited to have been selected for the project and for the benefits it will bring to our local farmers and economy.”

The two-year trial will kick off at the first Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market of the season Saturday, April 14. The market opens at 7 a.m. at 818 New Hampshire St. Fruit and vegetable checks may also be redeemed at Tuesday and Thursday farmers markets and Cottin’s Hardware farmers markets — all in Lawrence.

Other market times are:

  • Tuesdays- 4 to 6 p.m. in the public parking lot between 10th and 11th streets on the east side of Vermont Street.
  • Thursdays- 4 to 6 p.m. at the southwest corner of Sixth & Wakarusa.
  • Cottin’s Hardware farmers markets- 4 to 6 p.m. every Thursday at the store at 1832 Massachusetts St., Lawrence.

WIC serves pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children up to age 5 who live in Douglas County, are determined to be at nutritional risk and meet income guidelines. Participants receive nutrition counseling and vouchers to purchase healthy foods for their families.

Currently, 35 percent of infants born in Douglas County are enrolled in WIC. To learn more about WIC and how it helps families get off to a healthy start, click here or call the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department at (785) 843-0721.

Tagged: local foods, Health Department, fruit and vegetable consumption, access to local foods, access to healthy foods, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, WIC

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