BANGOR, Maine — A new banner funded by Bangor elected officials and candidates was unfurled Wednesday at the Ohio Street Farmers Market.
Contributing $25 or more apiece toward the banner’s cost were Sen. Nichi Farnham, R-Bangor; Rep. Doug Damon, R-Bangor; Rep. Jim Parker, R-Veazie, Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor; Mary Budd, a Bangor Republican candidate for the Maine House; John Schneck, a Bangor Democrat seeking a House seat; and Bangor City Councilors Geoff Gratwick, Joe Baldacci, James Gallant and Charlie Longo.
“The strong bipartisan support for the banner owes itself to the clear community consensus that it’s both the right and the smart thing to support area farms, healthy, local food and giving support to those in need,” said Scott Cuddy, a board member for Food AND Medicine, a local nonprofit that has created a fund to help low-income customers buy food at the market.
“The banner fulfills a clear need, as it is hard to see the market from the road,” he said.
Now in its third year, the Ohio Street Farmers’ Market is sponsored by the Bangor Grange. It is located at Grange Hall at 1192 Ohio St. and is open from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays through Nov. 21.
The market’s seven vendors offer a variety of local products, including pork, lamb, milk, eggs, vegetables, baked goods and bread, according to Grange Master Rolf Staples, the market manager.
The market is equipped to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp, cards. EBT Fund discounts also are available at the Bangor Farmers Market, which is open from noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays at Abbot Square, across from the Bangor Public Library.
Customers who use EBT cards get a 50 percent discount on food they buy the market. The discount is provided through a fund established by Food AND Medicine, a local nonprofit group that is working to increase access to local, healthy food.
“We had that the second week we were open and have had it ever since,” Staples said. “We’re exceptionally pleased with what’s happened this year.”
“We are very happy to work with Food AND Medicine again this year,” Staples said. “Their EBT Fund really helps us accomplish our goal, providing fresh, high quality local food to all.”
Jenna Perkins is an EBT user who began shopping at the farmers market because of the discount. A college student expecting her second child, Perkins has developed gestational diabetes and her doctor has told her to eat healthy food. She did not know how to afford it until she saw a flyer about the EBT Fund.
“The fund is really amazing,” Perkins said. “It’s meant that I can eat the way I should for both myself and my unborn child. This is great for me and other people should know about and support the program also. The program not only helps the person on food stamps now, it also helps them build some stability for later.”