CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — A $200,000 award from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) will help West Virginians using food assistance have better access to fresh produce for another year.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Stretch dollars allow recipients to get additional money for spending at eligible farmers’ markets and farm stands in West Virginia. For every dollar purchased with a SNAP/EBT card, customers receive another dollar to spend on produce, including:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- canned, dried or frozen fruits and vegetables without added sugars, fats, oils, or salt
- seeds and plants intended for cultivation and consumption (example: tomato seeds or tomato plants)
- fresh herbs
“We continue to see a significant return on every dollar invested in agriculture. From food security to a healthier citizenry to economic development, agriculture must and will play a role in West Virginia’s future. It is time for the Legislature to increase funding towards agricultural production,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said.
According to the WVDA release, funds for this year’s SNAP Stretch program were awarded under COVID relief dollars through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The WVDA worked with the Department of Economic Development and Senator Manchin’s office to meet necessary requirements for the funding.
There is no registration or sign-up process for SNAP Stretch, according to the program’s website.
In previous years, Commissioner Leonhardt worked with the Governor’s office and the Food and Farm Coalition to secure one-time funding, but Leonhardt and the WVDA requested the Legislature make SNAP Stretch a permanent line item starting in 2023.