Dianna just re-enrolled in SNAP benefits after losing them for a time. But she hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to keeping up with the HIP program.
“I found out about HIP from my mom, Kathy. She’s a huge advocate. She tells everyone about it and how it can help you stretch your food budget, especially for families that don’t have much.” Kathy also got Dianna involved in the community garden down the street from her home, after Dianna’s kids begged to go with their grandmother to the garden every day. Since joining the garden and getting connected with the HIP market in her neighborhood, Dianna has developed a strong preference for local produce.
“I prefer farm fresh fruits and veggies to the store-bought ones, they last so much longer and the flavor is so much better.” Cooking with fresh garlic, onions and herbs has led Dianna to cut down, and eventually, totally eliminate salt in her cooking, which she says makes her feel less swollen all summer long. “I definitely eat more greens from the market, and I’m willing to try new things that I wouldn’t if I didn’t have HIP.”
Dianna’s kids feel the same way. “My children like the fresh stuff better. Of course, they like the fruits more than the veggies, but they’ll eat the veggies too.” Dianna knows that providing her family with healthy foods is the best thing to do, but also that it’s not easy. “If I could stock my snack cabinet with fruits, my kids would be so excited. But it’s really expensive, especially if you are trying to buy organic. I bought Honeycrisp apples at the grocery store – I had tried them from the market and knew they were so good – but it was $5 for two apples! I could have bought two packages of cookies.”
During HIP suspensions, Dianna and her family don’t eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables. “If the HIP program didn’t stop, I could get the fresh stuff all year. In the winter, we struggle with that.”
Diane knows that HIP is a win-win for her family and for Mill City Grows, the farm where she shops. “Eating fresh foods is so much better for your body, and it also just tastes more delicious and flavorful. With all the obesity and sickness in this country, people would be much better off eating more fresh produce straight from the farm. HIP can help us do that.”