A program sponsored by Jacksonville Memorial Hospital will allow shoppers to use a Link card to purchase food at the Jacksonville Farmers Market.
“We’re providing access to healthy food to our community’s most vulnerable population,” said Lori Hartz, director of community health at Jacksonville Memorial Hospital. “In 2021, the Community Health Needs Assessment identified obesity as a top health concern in Morgan County, as it is a root cause of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. One of the ways we are addressing obesity in Morgan County is by expanding access to the healthy foods available at our local farmers market.”
Jacksonville Memorial Foundation trustees voted in February to provide a grant to support access to fresh food for families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, which supplements the food budgets of families in need. The grant provides for staff to manage the booth where Link tokens are available. The United States Department of Agriculture covers the cost of equipment and software for tracking reimbursement to farmers.
In addition, the hospital received a Link Up Illinois grant from Chicago-based nonprofit organization Experimental Station to double the value of Link card purchases made at the farmers market. The grant is intended to provide fresh food access to underserved populations in rural communities, said Hartz.
The Jacksonville Farmers Market opened May 7 in its new location in Pathway Plaza, 1905 W. Morton Ave., Jacksonville. The market is open 7 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through Oct. 29.