It’s been a long winter but the Woodlawn Farmers Market is getting ready for the summer with a food assistance fundraiser, plans for live music performance, new vendors and more.

Lauren Grijalva, one of the organizing team, says Woodlawn pays extra attention to its SNAP match program, which allows food stamp and EBT recipients to match the food dollars they spend at Woodlawn’s market, up to $15. 

“Last year we saw a 200 percent increase in our SNAP attendees,” Grijalva says. “We were able to give about $8,000 worth of SNAP supplemental dollars. It’s phenomenal, but we weren’t able to give it to everybody. And this year we want to be able to meet that 200 percent demand.”

Grijalva says little wooden tokens are exchanged for the matching dollars, which the shopper spends at the market booths. You don’t have to live in the Woodlawn neighborhood to participate.

“It allows them to get a bigger bang for their buck,” Grijalva says. “If they just want to spend $5, we’ll match that. 

“Or if they come with $30 to spend towards getting produce, then we are able to match it at a max of $15. So they walk away with $45 to spend.”

The best way to contribute to the SNAP matching program helping low income shoppers maximize their produce access is to donate on their website. Donors can contribute a small amount one time, or invest larger amounts that can benefit a family for the whole season.

The market also suffered two serious break-ins last year, Grijalva says, and replacing important equipment is going to take time and resources.

“We lost all of our tents and our hand washing station, and our signage. And so we’ve been slowly trying to build it back up.”

A fundraiser to replace equipment is also under way, and in-kind donations of items or expertise are appreciated, she said.

Organizers are excited to plan live music this year, which so far looks possible as the coronavirus vaccine continues its rollout. After a year off, Grijalva says the organizing team is cautiously moving forward to planning on entertainment at the lovely market site in Woodlawn Park.

“We weren’t able to do a lot last summer due to COVID restrictions, but this summer we are determined to support our local musicians” she says. ““It seems like it’s going to be much more feasible.”

As in past years, the Woodlawn Market will have fantastic fresh food booths, tons of produce, beautiful blooms, eggs, meat and baked goods from local vendors. Confirmed so far are InClay Farms, Rainbow Produce, Mundus Foods, Cagnant Culinary, PDX Hot Sauces. But there is still time for more vendors to apply.

The key difference between shopping at most grocery stores and shopping at your neighborhood farmers market is community investment, Grijalva says.

“The benefit of small markets in general is that we act as a community hub,” she says. “Local vendors, local farmers and neighbors see their money go directly towards another community member — and business that they’re striving to manifest.

“When we put money towards a local vendor? They’re going to take that and they’re going to use it for the business, but they might also use it for their family members and for their kids who are attending the same school as yours — putting that back towards groceries or towards a PTA or towards helping fund other local community projects.

“And it stays local.”

Excited to support the Woodlawn Farmers Market? Here are a few of the ways Grijalva suggests:

  • Sponsor live music, “and be able to have money go directly into the pockets of local, hardworking, beautiful artists.” 
  • For volunteers who want to help out in other ways, look for the signup portal there, opening in May. 
  • Invest some cash in the Love for Woodlawn Farmers Market fundraiser!

-Via text: LOVE4WFM to 44-321

-Via Venmo: @woodlawnmarket

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