Amber Lambke, owner of the Grist Mill in Skowhegan, walks past new signs for the Skowhegan Farmers’ Market stored where renovations are underway for the Crooked Face Creamery on April 30. In addition to milling a variety of flours, the Grist Mill houses the Miller’s Table Cafe, happy knits yarn shop, radio station WXNZ, the creamery and the Dry Good store. Morning Sentinel file photo by David Leaming

SKOWHEGAN — A grant awarded to the Skowhegan Farmers’ Market will boost its efforts to provide local produce to area residents struggling with food insecurity.

The $8,850 grant from the Western Mountains Fund of the Maine Community Foundation will create a new partnership with a local food pantry and help support the market’s efforts to match a federal assistance program, the market said in a news release this week. The grant was awarded in partnership with the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets.

Skowhegan Farmers’ Market program ambassador Tiffany Johnson at the Skowhegan Food Pantry Skowhegan Farmers’ Market photo

Through the partnership with the Skowhegan Food Pantry and Backpack Program at Skowhegan Area High School, the market will provide produce to the organization each week and send an “ambassador” once a month to provide information and recipes, according to farmers’ market leadership. The backpack program and pantry serve families in Maine School Administrative District 54.

The farmers’ market hopes to continue the partnership beyond the duration of the grant, which is expected to last through November, market manager Johanna Burdet said in an email.

The grant will also help support the market’s efforts to provide a dollar-for-dollar match for recipients of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through a program called Maine Harvest Bucks, the news release said. The match, which has been offered for years before the awarding of the grant, is for SNAP recipients making purchases at the market, held Saturdays in the parking lot of Maine Grains off Court Street during summer months.

“For every dollar spent, $1 is matched toward the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables from participating local farmers, improving access to healthy local food while stretching limited benefits even further to contribute to the growth of our local economy, create community connections, and facilitate healthy eating,” according to the news release.


Maine Harvest Bucks, administered by the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program.

In 2023, the Skowhegan Farmers’ Market processed more than $29,000 in sales to SNAP recipients, market treasurer Amber Lambke said previously.

About 51% of Skowhegan residents qualify for SNAP and therefore are considered food insecure, Lambke said at a Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday. Lambke, who won a seat on the board in the election Tuesday, was speaking as a member of the public at the time.

“It’s an incredible program,” Lambke said. “There is no cap to the match. We have families that come spend $90 on their EBT cards at the farmers’ market, and they get more fresh produce, supporting the farmers in our region.”

The Skowhegan Farmers’ Market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through October, when hours change for the winter. The pantry at Skowhegan Area High School is open during summer months from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

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