WIC Perks Program
The Lakewood City Council recognized Lakewood Farmers’ Market, the MetroHealth System-Cuyahoga County Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Ohio State University Extension for its successful partnership in piloting the WIC Perks program at their October 7 council meeting. During the meeting, Council presented a resolution thanking the partners for their dedication and success and embraced the goal of increasing access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables for families who experience food insecurity.
The WIC Perks pilot aimed to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for WIC recipients and increase sales at local farmers’ markets. WIC recipients who attended a participating market on a pilot day were given the opportunity to participate in a brief cooking demonstration or education table. In exchange for their participation, families received a $20 farmers’ market voucher that could be spent on fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Four local markets in Cuyahoga County participated in the pilot program; Lakewood Farmers’ Market, Old Brooklyn Farmers’ Market, North Union Farmers’ Market at Shaker Square, and North Union Farmers’ Market at Van Aken.
Over the course of the pilot program Ohio State University Extension provided $13,640 worth of farmers’ market vouchers to 682 families. Of the four farmers’ markets in Cuyahoga County that participated in WIC Perks, the Lakewood Farmers’ Market experienced the highest turnout resulting in 257 families receiving an additional $5,140 to spend on fresh, local fruits and vegetables.
This pilot project would not have been possible without the partnership and support of MetroHealth System- Cuyahoga County WIC, all 23 farmers’ markets in Cuyahoga County, and local funders.