VICKSBURG — Members of the Mayor’s Health Council hope to work out a plan under which the Vicksburg farmers market can accept electronic benefits transactions as part of a plan to improve the health of Vicksburg residents.
“If we don’t get people healthier, they’re always going to be sick and depending on the government’s pockets,” said council member Vanessa Prentiss, who teaches health classes at Kings Empowerment Center. “This is our city, and we want our city to last and our people to last.”
Council member Gail Kavanaugh, nutrition director for the Vicksburg Warren School District, told The Vicksburg Post the system could involve the farmers market manager accepting EBTs — electronic food stamps — and issuing tokens that can be traded to market vendors, or allowing farmers to accept EBT payments at their booths.
The ability to accept EBT transactions would allow more access to fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income residents, Kavanaugh said. EBT is accepted at several farmers’ markets around the state, she said.
“It’s very important for the community to know this is in the best interest of farmers and the community,” she said.
So far, the move has been a tough sell to farmers, she said.
“Many of them are skeptical and don’t want the government involved in their business,” she said.
The council is made up of about 15 members including health department officials and community members.