By Traci Chapman
Mustang community gardeners say they hope to better spread the word about one of the nonprofit’s newest offerings – the ability to utilize SNAP benefits to purchase eligible items at Wildhorse Gardens and Market.
Volunteers estimated Saturday only a few individuals have taken advantage of the ability to use SNAP for farmers market purchases since WGM received the electronic benefits transfer device necessary to allow those transfers. They said they hoped to spread the word that SNAP could be used to purchase produce and certain other eligible products at the market, giving more people than ever throughout the community access to fresh fruits, vegetables and related items.
“We were very interested in being able to offer something so important – fresh produce and other items grown locally by our vendors and in our own Mustang garden,” Wildhorse Gardens and
Market president Susan Dobbins said in January, shortly after the nonprofit received the EBT machine.
Securing the device was important to volunteers working to continually expand access to fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the community. A portion of the Mustang nonprofit’s harvest is donated throughout each season to area food pantries; with a growing number of vendors regularly offering their wares during Mustang farmers markets this year, healthy items available also exponentially increased.
That meant more and better ways for people to incorporate more fresh and healthy items in their family’s diets, at the same time supporting local growers and entrepreneurs, Dobbins said – a part of WGM’s mission to promote health and wellness, the benefits of gardening and more.
In fact, the group’s efforts in that regard were acknowledged earlier this year by Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, which awarded WGM a $500 grant to help fund market events, Dobbins said. TSET’s Healthy Living Program awards grants to organizations providing healthy food and promoting better health for all Oklahomans.
Wildhorse Gardens and Market’s seasonal farmers markets are held Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. The market is located adjacent to the garden on the southeast side of Mustang Town Center, near Brittany’s Play Adventure.
More information about Wildhorse Gardens and Market can be found on its website, located at http://wildhorsegardensandmarket.org/ and its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WildhorseGardensAndMarket. Garden photos can also be found on Instagram by searching for “Wildhorse Gardens.”