A (Local) Food Community for All

At the BTLT Farmers’ Market, we work hard to ensure folks from all socioeconomic backgrounds have the opportunity to access fresh produce and feel invited to participate in our local food system. Our Market works with the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets (MFFM) to participate in several food access programs including SNAP, Maine Harvest Bucks, and Bumper Crop.

This year, we saw an increase in the use of SNAP benefits at our Market! MFFM launched a postcard mailing for SNAP users in Brunswick, bringing about a dozen new SNAP shoppers to the Market. Both the Brunswick Downtown Market and the Brunswick Winter Market have started participating in the SNAP program this season creating more opportunities to access food in our community. With these additions, all five farmers markets in the region are accessible to SNAP families.

The Maine Harvest Bucks program offers bonus vouchers for SNAP users to spend on fresh produce. The match shifted from last year’s 1:1 match to a 2:1 (50%) match of SNAP transactions. This change was due to an increase in the use of the program which has strained the funding. MFFM is currently fundraising to support the Harvest Bucks program. In 2021 $1.2 million was spent with local food producers through SNAP and Maine Harvest Bucks, according to MFFM.

BTLT has continued to participate in the Bumper Crop, a workplace wellness program developed by the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets that provides employees with vouchers to be spent at farmers markets. The program has continued to expand with employers across the state and the number of participating farmers markets. While BTLT’s Bumper Crop voucher use was lower this season, other markets in the area have joined the program resulting in a net increase in use in our communities. If you are an employer or an employee in Maine and think this program would be a good fit for your company or organization, you can learn more here

We are also excited to share that we are continuing to expand our food access programming with a new Pop Club program for the 2023 season. POP Clubs provide youth at Farmers Markets with vouchers to spend on fruits and veggies, encouraging exploration of foods and healthy eating, early engagement in local food systems and agriculture, and providing more income to local producers. Vendors are encouraged to partake in POP Club programs by offering “POP” deals for kids. We are looking forward to launching this program in the spring and continuing to explore more ways to expand food access and invite more folks to our Market! 

Farmers’ Market Wraps up Another Stellar Season

by Julia St.Clair, BTLT Agricultural Programs Coordinator

Earlier this month we wrapped up our 2022 Farmers’ Market season at Crystal Spring Farm! We had such a busy and fabulous time each Saturday, and have already started planning for next year.

This season we had 34 vendors from around the region selling everything from heirloom tomatoes to traditionally fermented miso to knit wool socks to freshly roasted peppers. But what makes this Market so special is not just the great variety of products, but the sense of community; neighbors chatting, vendors sharing stories and answering questions, kids running around, folks listening to the live music, and even the occasional dancing.

We welcomed several new vendors this year who we hope will return again next year. Adrian from Empanada Club is already promising to work on some new recipes. Plus another one of these new vendors, GoGo Refill (the spot for low-waste sustainable home and body products), will soon be opening a shop right here in Brunswick!

At the kid’s table we introduced Beatrice the Golden Bee, a figurine who hung out with a different vendor each week, reminding us of the importance of pollination to our food system. Those who found her while at the Market were awarded stickers to take home. She was a hit with kiddos throughout the season, with several Market-regulars showing up each week to seek her out, racing back to the BTLT booth to claim their prize!

Our Farmers Market poster returned this year as well, featuring artwork from Addison Wagner, who works at Whatley Farm. The poster features her stunning pencil drawing of hands holding up kale, bringing art together with a love for local agriculture. Addison also joined us at the Market several weekends selling prints, alongside her partner, printmaker Anastasia Inciardi.

This year we are incredibly excited to share that the BTLT Farmers’ Market voted as the #1 Farmers’ Market in Maine during America’s Farmers Market Celebration hosted by the American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition. We are thrilled to offer a space where all are welcome to engage with our local food system. A huge thank you to the vendors who show up each week with jokes and smiles and a shout out to all the volunteers throughout the season who make this fabulous Farmers’ Market possible! We can’t wait to see you all again out on the green at Crystal Spring Farm next spring!


Love Your Local Market

Did you know that Greater Brunswick is home to five farmers markets? They are such an incredible resource for local eaters, and the farms and food producers of the region. Each market is run by a different organization, or group of vendors, which means that there are various ways of supporting each one. Click here to learn more about the individual markets of the region.

Regardless of which market(s) you call your own, or if you’re visiting markets while traveling, here are some easy ways to support them:

  • Shop at markets often! Get to know your farmers, fishermen and food producers.
  • Shop the whole market (meat, veggies, cheese, prepared foods, etc.) and try new foods often.
  • If it’s in season, purchase it at the farmers’ market. Click here to see what’s in season, and some fun accompanying recipes. 
  • Volunteer at the SNAP booth or information booth at your favorite markets. All markets in our region need volunteers right now – reach out via email to let them know you’d like to get involved!
    • Brunswick-Topsham Land Trusts’ Saturday Market at Crystal Spring Farm –
    • Brunswick Farmers Market –
    • Bath Farmers Market –
    • Bowdoinham Farmers Market –
    • Brunswick Winter Market,
  • Invite your friends and family to the market with you.
  • Donate to the market to help offset the operating cost or purchase market merchandise (hats, bags, shirts, etc). Most markets are run by a host of folks volunteering their time and resources.
  • Bring your own shopping bags and produce bags. And return plant pots, egg crates, onion bags, etc.
  • Talk to your employer about adding farmers markets to their employee wellness plan. Maine has a program called BumperCrop run by the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets.

Eating locally is a wonderful way to support the local economy, your community, and a healthy environment through sustainable farming and food production. Get eating folks!

Accessing Local Food During COVID-19