Fruit, vegetable program extended through winter

Nictora Farms, of Kirkville, begins packing up produce for the day on Sept. 29 at the Watertown Farm and Craft Market on Washington Street. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — The Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County will be extending its SNAP-Ed Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program through the winter.

The program began in July as part of a larger initiative throughout the north country SNAP-Ed region that partnered with local farmers.

“Now we’re able to extend this program into the winter season as our farmers don’t necessarily have too much produce over the winter,” said SNAP-Ed Program Manager Cassondra Caswell. “We’re partnering with Save A Lot so that we can get produce to individuals that are going through the program during the winter months.”

CCE of St. Lawrence County is partnering with the Community Health Center of the North Country and Save A Lot, with funding from Fidelis Care Health Insurance, to allow families to have fresh produce during the winter months.

“The providers at the health centers are screening their clients,” Ms. Caswell said. “They then refer them to us at SNAP-Ed with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Then we register them for six weeks of classes.”

Those eligible for the prescription will participate in a six-week nutrition workshop with a SNAP-Ed nutritionist from CCE.

“In the classes we talk about vegetables, how to save money on fruit and vegetables, how to get them into your diet, inexpensive and healthy recipes they can include the fruit and vegetables in,” Ms. Caswell said. “At the end of the classes they are connected with the local producers that are nearby.”

Through the funding provided by Fidelis Care Health Insurance, participants receive a $20 voucher at each workshop, totaling $120 for all six workshops, that is redeemable for fruits and vegetables at Save A Lot grocery stores in Canton, Potsdam, Ogdensburg and Gouverneur.

“We’re trying to provide education with access to fruit and vegetables as well,” Ms. Caswell said. “This program helps to break down some food security and access barriers as well as providing nutrition education that I think is a key component to lifelong or at least long-term behavior change for individuals.”

For more information, visit the CCE of St. Lawrence County website, the SNAP-Ed website at snapedny.org, or call 315-379-9192.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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