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3SquaresVT will help you start gardening

Growing your own food does more than provide fresh vegetables. It teaches people how things grow and connects them to our food system in a way that can promote positive systems change for better individual and community health.
— Michelle Gates, Vermont Community Garden Network

VERMONT — Signs of spring are slowly but surely appearing across the state, which means it’s time to think about which fruits, vegetables, and herbs to grow this season. Vermonters can buy seeds and seedlings that produce edible foods with 3SquaresVT benefits. 3SquaresVT is Vermont’s name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides eligible people with money every month to help pay for groceries.
3SquaresVT can be used at over 600 retailers and more than 40 farmers markets across the state. Benefits can be used to buy seeds and plants at any retailer or farmers market that accepts EBT cards. At most farmers markets, shoppers with 3SquaresVT can use a program called Crop Cash to double their dollar and buy produce, seeds, and plants — and even get some gardening tips from expert farmers and growers. For every $1 spent in 3SquaresVT benefits, shoppers will receive an additional $1 in Crop Cash, up to $10.
“Growing your own food does more than provide fresh vegetables,” said Vermont Community Garden Network Executive Director Michelle Gates. “It teaches people how things grow and connects them to our food system in a way that can promote positive systems change for better individual and community health. Gardening can lead to healthier lifestyles for people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Container gardening is a great option for those with limited space for a garden or raised beds. The Vermont Community Garden Network is an excellent resource for tips on growing food, or finding a community garden near you.
“Each month, the 3SquaresVT program successfully supports nearly 70,000 Vermonters by reducing hunger in our communities, while keeping millions of dollars in our local economies.” said Ivy Enoch, Food Security Specialist at Hunger Free Vermont. “Shopping with 3SquaresVT benefits sends those dollars to local food retailers who create jobs in the community, and local farmers who produce food for our community. It’s a win-win.”
One in 10 Vermonters receive 3SquaresVT benefits, but many more are eligible. Everyone who is eligible to receive 3SquaresVT benefits will get them with an approved application, and there are enough benefits for everyone who qualifies, so you are not taking away benefits from anyone else by signing up. Visit Vermont Food Help to learn more about 3SquaresVT and how to apply: vermontfoodhelp.com.

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