Last year $13,440 in coupons used

Last year $13,440 in coupons used

Food program backed

The District of Houston council is writing provincial health minister Adrian Dix thanking him for his ministry’s continued support of a program in which lower income people receive coupons which can then be used to purchase food at the Houston Farmers’ Market.

In existence here for nearly 10 years, food producers then submit the coupons for reimbursement from Houston Link to Learning, the local organization backing the farmers’ market.

In turn, Houston Link to Learning receives a grant through the B.C. Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program, which is supported by the health ministry, to finance the reimbursements.

Last year $13,440 in coupons were processed through the program here.

Each coupon is worth $21 and qualified recipients last year were eligible to receive a booklet for each of the 21 weeks the farmers’ market was in operation.

The coupons cover vegetables, dairy products and, when available, meat.

Last year Houston Link to Learning provided weekly booklets to 25 qualified recipients with an additional 10 booklets distributed through the Dze LK’ant Friendship Centre based in Smithers.

“Program recipients from Houston ate more local foods, learned about healthy eating and felt connected to their community,” noted the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets in asking council to write a letter to Dix.

“Your encouragement and feedback can strengthen support for ongoing funding,” the association added.

Getting charged up

Another electric vehicle charging station could be installed here, provided grants are received to fully cover the cost.

Council has already given its approval for two charging stations at a cost to the District of $5,000 each through Charge North, a regional initiative backed by the Vancouver-based Community Energy Association designed to promote both travel here by electric vehicle owners as well as local purchases of the vehicles.

The full cost of each station is approximately $12,000 and while the Community Energy Association has secured the majority of the money it needs to fully finance the purchase and installation of a network of such stations along Hwy16 and south on Hwy97, it’s awaiting to see if a grant to the provincial government for the rest of the financing is successful.

These are Level 2 stations which can charge a vehicle within two to six hours, considered ideal by local governments who foresee travellers purchasing meals or local goods while their vehicles are plugged in.

The prospect of a third Level 2 station arose after one community dropped out of the network program, making four of the stations available, said Community Energy Association manager Janice Keyes in an update to council.

Houston council is agreeable to the proposition subject to approval by the association, said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

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