Local Shenandoah County grocery store joins Virginia Fresh Match network

Henry said the Virginia Cooperative Extension will later create videos on how to cook different...
Henry said the Virginia Cooperative Extension will later create videos on how to cook different recipes with items found in his store.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 2:38 PM EDT
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A local grocery store in Shenandoah County is now an official partner in a network that allows families with SNAP benefits to double the value of their purchases.

Jon Henry General Store is a new partner in the Virginia Fresh Match network, which doubles SNAP benefits spent on fresh items at participating neighborhood grocery stores.

For instance, if a shopper buys $20 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables, with their SNAP benefits, they would only pay $10.

The store will be the first neighborhood grocery in Shenandoah County to be a part of the program, which they say is an exciting opportunity to offer fresh locally-grown produce to everyone.

Back in August of 2018, Roanoke's Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP), on behalf of the statewide Virginia Fresh Match network, received a $1.8 million Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentives around the commonwealth.

That federal grant has been used to support the development and growth of the Virginia Fresh Match network, which brings together organizations, including farmers markets, local food nonprofits, and key stakeholders in order to address food security, farmer viability, and affordable access to fresh produce.

The network, according to the Local Environmental Agriculture Project, "capitalizes on the expertise of community leaders and builds collaborations between neighborhood grocery stores, service providers, farmers, farmers markets, SNAP consumers, and community partners."

“Agriculture is Virginia’s leading industry yet many families struggle to afford fresh fruits and vegetables needed for a healthy lifestyle. Applied as a food security strategy in many communities, accepting and doubling SNAP at farmers markets and grocery stores makes fresh food more equitable and affordable. The FINI grant allows Virginia Fresh Matchto expand to more sites and to plan for the sustained future of nutrition incentives across the Commonwealth,” said Maureen Best, LEAP Director and Virginia Fresh Match Co-Lead.

As a Virginia Fresh Match incentive site, Jon Henry General Store will offer a 50% discount on fresh produce to customers who use SNAP at check out.

They'll be only the fourth Virginia Fresh Match neighborhood grocery partner, playing a key role in developing future Virginia grocery incentive programs.

You can learn more about their plans and other Virginia Fresh Match sites