Midland Area Farmers Market Announces Hiring of Food Navigator

The Midland Area Farmers Market (MAFM) is excited to announce a new addition to the 2022 Market season: A Food Navigator, Natalie Kea!

Food Navigators can be found throughout the state at many different farmers markets and are available to assist all Market Goers. Their primary focus is helping those who receive food assistance navigate the different kinds available, resulting in a best use of the aid received while still benefitting the local produce farmers. The MAFM Food Navigator position is made possible by MyMichigan Health.

“The role of a food navigator is a relatively new role across the U.S., and an important one to ensure residents have a better understanding and greater access to affordable, healthy food,” said Mary Greeley, Vice President, Population Health at MyMichigan Health. “This partnership with the Midland Business Alliance is a perfect example of our purpose at MyMichigan Health in ‘Creating Healthy Communities – Together.’ It is these types of collaborations that will keep our communities healthy and strong for future generations.”

Kea, who recently graded with a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Central Michigan will begin on June 1. You will be able to find her at Market every Wednesday and Saturday from June 1 – October 29. Kea was previously the Power of Produce Intern at the Frankenmuth Farmers Market, so is no stranger to working with Market customers.

“By partnering with MyMichigan Health we were able to create an opportunity to better support current and future produce growers while creating a thriving marketplace for local food and farm products and its vision that all residents have access to healthy, locally grown food,” said Emily Lyons, MAFM Manager. “This position will support MAFM’s staff and produce famers to expand and support MAFM’s accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Double Up Food Bucks and other food assistance programs.”

Thanks to support from the Market’s financial institution partner, Isabella Bank, the MAFM can accept many types of payment. This includes SNAP/EBT, WIC Project FRESH coupons, Senior Project FRESH coupons as well as Double Up Food Bucks and debit and credit. For more information check out the Isabella Bank booth in front of the Dow Diamond East Ticket Booth every Market day.

“Many markets across the state have Food Navigators and MAFM has been deserving of one for some time,” Lyons said. “Once we closed the 2021 season with more than $80,000 in food assistance spent, it was easy to justify the position. I am so grateful to MyMichigan for underwriting it!”

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