In partnership with the Rillito Park Foundation and the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, HeirloomFM has launched a brand new Market Ambassador Internship Program to help SNAP & WIC customers shop, cook, and eat locally. The Market Ambassador, Athena, who will be paid with funds from a donation from the Rillito Park Foundation, will never be behind a booth – instead, they will be out and about at the Rillito Park Farmers Market, wearing a can’t-miss orange apron.
SNAP and WIC customers are encouraged to seek out the Market Ambassador to get help “from the moment they receive their benefits to the moment they buy their food,” says HFM Director of Advancement Zoë Anderson. Amongst other things, the Market Ambassador will give tours of the market, connect SNAP customers with farmers, teach customers about what’s in season at any given time, help them create shopping lists and grocery budgets, and brainstorm recipes and meal plans. All of this is in an effort to encourage SNAP customers to return to the farmers market for healthy and locally grown food. “The more that people know about food and nutrition, the bigger impact we have on the community,” says Taste of the Market Program Manager Jackie Mendelson. Because this is the first position of its kind in Arizona, HeirloomFM is working closely with SNAP-Ed to build a Market Ambassador position that is replicable, and therefore able to be brought to other farmers markets around the state.