Flexible Spending Accounts for Fresh Produce
Create a system that allows Oregonians to put aside money from their paychecks into a flexible spending account to use at local grocery stores, farmers' markets, and farm stands for fresh produce. Just like the concept of healthcare FSAs, Oregonians can choose how much money they want to put aside (pre-tax) from their paychecks and access it only for produce. This may mean getting either a debit-card for their account or using the wooden token system already in place at many farmers' markets throughout the state. Creating the system would give Oregonians an incentive for buying fruits and vegetables and help to funnel that money into the local economy and support Oregon's farmers.
This is a fantastic idea—wouldn't it be even more direct to allow those of use with HSAs as part of our health plans to allow spending at farmers markets and farm stands to be considered qualified health expenses?! Genius!
The structure is in place, but healthcare orgs, fresh food non-profits, and the federal government need a point of contact to make it feasible and workable.