By JULIE CHADWICK
July 8, 2014 · Updated 12:06 AM
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A new coupon program seeks to connect low-income seniors and families to local farmers with a nutrition coupon program that started this summer.

Nanaimo Foodshare joined forces with the Bowen Road Farmers' Market to apply to host the program in Nanaimo, which is run through the B.C. Association of Farmer's Markets.

The program, which offers low-income families and seniors $15 per week of fresh local produce for the duration of the market, runs at Beban Park from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

"It's about supporting people accessing healthy food, fresh produce and meat and dairy from local producers," said Crystal Dennison, executive director of Nanaimo Foodshare.

"Interest has been beyond what we can actually help. We have a waitlist already.

"The goal is to build the relationship, so we're looking for people with long-term attachment who want to build relationships with farmers," she added. The ideal situation would be to connect people who have time, but perhaps not money, with growers who need people with time to help out on their farms in exchange for food and knowledge.

The program also includes skill-building opportunities for participants, including farmer's market tours and volunteering, food demonstrations on what can be made with the produce that is purchased and encouraging participation in Foodshare's gleaning program to gather and distribute excess fruit from local trees that is not being utilized.

For more information or to take part call Nanaimo Foodshare at 250-753-9393.

JChadwick@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4238

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