In partnership with the Rillito Park Foundation and the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, HeirloomFM has a Market Ambassador Internship Program to help SNAP & WIC customers shop, cook, and eat locally. The Market Ambassador position is the first of its kind in Arizona and is funded by a donation from the Rillito Park Foundation. Never behind a booth, the Market Ambassador at the Rillito Park Farmers Market is out and about helping customers, and is easily spotted in a bright orange apron.
SNAP and WIC customers are encouraged to seek out the Market Ambassador “from the moment they receive their benefits to the moment they buy their food,” says HFM Director of Advancement Zoë Anderson. The Market Ambassador gives market tours and connects SNAP and WIC customers with farmers. With the Market Ambassador as a guide, customers learn about seasonal produce, create shopping lists and grocery budgets, and brainstorm recipes and meal plans. These efforts engage SNAP and WIC customers to enjoy the farmers markets and return 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 Doran Hadan. HeirloomFM is working closely with SNAP-Ed to build a Market Ambassador position that is replicable at other farmers markets around the state.