LEAP receives grant for program giving healthy foods to Medicaid recipients

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A local program wants to get fresh food to more people in Roanoke. Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP), works to connect local farmers and consumers. The organization was awarded a $24,988 grant from Wholesome Wave, the national nonprofit working to help Americans in poverty afford fruits and vegetables.

The grant money will be used to start The Virginia Fresh Match Medicaid Incentive pilot program which builds on LEAP's Healthy Food Incentive program that makes fresh, local foods more affordable and accessible to people throughout the city of Roanoke. For this program, organizers say for every dollar spent at a LEAP community market, Medicaid recipients will receive an additional dollar to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

"We want to cover that gap in affordability for people who may not be able to first access and second afford healthy foods so they can make it more of a part of their diet," said Sam Lev, LEAP.

LEAP is teaming up with Carilion, New Horizons and other local organizations for the pilot program. LEAP markets include the Grandin Village Community Market, West End Community Market, and LEAP Mobile Market.

All markets are made up of vendors who grow or make food within 100 miles of Roanoke.