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Some good news…some bad news

October 16, 2009

We at FreshLocal are dedicated to serving as broad a segment of our community as possible, and so we’ve been trying to get set up to accept EBT (hi-tech Food Stamps) and WIC at FreshLocal. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve navigated through the process of asking USDA to let us accept EBT.  It’s confirmed that we’re in the system, no problems detected so far, so it’s just a matter of waiting (weeks) to emerge at the other end of the labyrinth with the necessary approvals.  That’s the good news.

Now the bad news.  It seems that the WIC program issues checks that qualifying individuals can spend in qualifying stores on qualifying products.  WIC stands for women, infants and children, and is supposed to provide improved nutrition for that target group, so you’d think that the FreshLocal products, selected for freshness and high quality, would be first in line.  Absolutely not!  Out of all the thousands of foods available in our land of abundance, WIC checks can be spent on only those that appear on a pretty short list, almost all of them bearing the specific brand names of giant FoodBiz corporations.

So FreshLocal will have a number of whole grain cereals, but they won’t come in a box and they won’t bear the name of Post or General Mills, and so the federal government won’t allow WIC recipients to use their checks for them.  THERE ARE NO FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ON THE LIST!!

If you have any ink left for writing for members of Congress and any outrage to spare, this is a situation worthy of attention.  Please.

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