IMMOKALEE — Legrand Caribbean Market in Collier County, is participating in Feeding Florida’s Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) program, an initiative that increases access to fresh produce for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
A program of Feeding Florida, Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) makes healthy foods accessible to SNAP shoppers in communities through local food outlets, including farmers markets, community supported agriculture(CSAs), farm stands, mobile markets, and now grocery stores.
At Legrand Caribbean Market, FAB matches what a SNAP cardholder spends with FREE Fresh Access Bucks - up to $10 to spend on fresh vegetables and fruit, every time they shop. For example, a SNAP shopper who spends $5 of their SNAP benefits at Legrand Caribbean Market receives an additional $5 on their FAB loyalty card to purchase fresh produce. SNAP shoppers can use their Fresh Access Bucks that day or on a later shopping trip. Fresh Access Bucks are available every day that the market is open, and SNAP shoppers may double their benefits multiple times per day.
Legrand Caribbean Market, a family-owned grocery store that has been a staple in Immokalee for more than 20 years, is located at 402 S. First Street and is open Monday through Saturday 8 am to 8 pm. A large variety of SNAP eligible products can be found at Legrand, including fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs, rice, meats and many other healthy products traditional to Spanish and Caribbean diets. Franck LeGrand Jr, General Manager of Legrand is excited to offer FAB to his customers.
“Immokalee is home to a large population of low-income families from Caribbean and Spanish countries. These cultures are known to use mostly fresh ingredients. Making those fresh ingredients affordable for customers through FAB is a win-win for the community,” says LeGrand.
Community partners, such as Blue Zones Project’s David Longfield-Smith, are also excited to see Legrand Caribbean Market offering Fresh Access Bucks, as it helps to further Blue Zone’s work to support a community-wide initiative to make healthy choices easier for everyone in Southwest Florida. COVID-19 has heavily impacted the community; unemployment rates have risen and food access has become an increased challenge for thousands of people.
Feeding Florida’s FAB retail program is an expansion of an initiative currently offered in over 50 farmers market outlets across the state, with the goal of ensuring food insecure individuals have access to affordable, fresh, locally-sourced produce in their community. FAB’s retail program is a three-year pilot with a focus on small, regional, or independent grocery, co-op, convenience, or corner stores. Collier County, where Legrand Carribean Market is located, currently has more than 29,000 individuals on SNAP and a 10.5% rate of food insecurity. All SNAP customers are eligible to participate in the FAB retail program. Feeding Florida plans to expand the program to other grocery retailers across the state.