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How to double your budget for produce without spending more money

Anna Richeimer monitors what her children eat.

“I like local. I like organic when possible and pesticide-free,” Richeimer said.

Those are some of the reasons she orders produce from Southwest Florida Produce, a co-operative.

How does it work?

Southwest Florida Produce brings the produce from eight local farms to your front door.

“A lot of farmers they don’t have the means, the funds or the time to take everything to a farmer’s market or deliver it directly to consumers. That’s where we come in,” owner Elizabeth Coquillard said.

Coquillard said their business cuts out the middleman, cutting costs for consumers.

“Our boxes cost from $20-$30, in the grocery store it cost you closer to $47,” she said. “So it saves time it, saves money and also we’re helping small local farmers at the same time.”

For $5, Southwest Florida Produce will deliver anywhere from Venice to Marco Island. Orders over $50 are delivered for free.

Doubling Your SNAP/ P-EBT Dollars

Fresh Access Bucks is a USDA funded statewide nutrition incentive program that encourages SNAP recipients to redeem their benefits at farmer’s markets, produce stands, CSAs and mobile markets to purchase healthy produce directly from Florida farmers. Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is also included.

If families use their benefits at a Southwest Florida Produce or any other qualifying distributor, it will result in a 50% discount on an unlimited dollar amount.

For example, Lee County schools announced every student will receive an EBT card with $313.50, $5.70 per day for the 55 days school was closed.

“We could turn your $300 into $600,” Coquillard said.

But once September comes, the program will only match up to $40 per day.

Charlotte and Collier counties Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer cards are distributed on a case by case basis.

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Drew Hill
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