“It helped us out a lot,” says Tasha Dooley of the program. She and her husband, Chris, are both Army Veterans living in Rochester. “Both of us went back to school on the GI Bill so this helped us to get fresh produce. Financially, it was a godsend.”
But Tasha says the markets are about more than fresh foods: “It’s a great opportunity to meet other vets, network about job opportunities, and find out where to get help if you need it.”
Laura Young, owner of My Farm in York County, Maine, is one of the farmers who have participated in Vouchers for Veterans and gives it a thumbs up. “It works great for us. We love the program,” she says.
The vouchers make it easy for farmers to price produce and streamline the transaction so it’s convenient for shoppers to just grab and go. “It’s less stressful and keeps the line moving,” Laura says.
Dan Saucier volunteers at the Rochester Farmers Market and has seen first-hand how much the program means to his fellow Veterans. “A lot of the Veterans appreciate what they get, but they really appreciate being recognized for their service. It’s not always about the monetary value.”