TAHLEQUAH, OK – The Cherokee Nation is partnering with area farmers markets to help new mothers and families have better access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced a new program at the Tahlequah Farmers Market that will provide women, infants and children (WIC) participants with monetary vouchers redeemable at farmers markets across the Cherokee Nation reservation.
The Cherokee Nation recently received a $244,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to offer the innovative program. Additionally, the tribe announced the first-ever economic support program for WIC participants, who are Cherokee Nation citizens. The vouchers will give WIC participants an additional $30 for farmers markets in Cherokee Nation communities and will be available in June.
“As a tribe, we cherish our Cherokee families and supporting the health and wellness of our families through programs like WIC has always been a priority,” said Chief Hoskin. “Thanks to the work of our Cherokee Nation Public Health and our partnerships with USDA, we are able to expand and look toward new opportunities. Today, as we gather together surrounded by families who are directly impacted by WIC programs, we are proud to announce $430 worth of monthly financial support for women, infants and children who are on our program.”
“WIC is a program that’s constantly working to achieve the Cherokee Nation goals for healthy, happy families by improving the nutritional status of tribal citizens,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “And even better, it’s a program that is for all types of families. Like so many families across the Cherokee Nation, it is no question that our WIC participants are feeling the strains of the economy as we all work to recover and rebuild after the pandemic. These programs are a testament to what we can accomplish together when we put Cherokee families first.”
The Cherokee Nation’s federally funded WIC program has previously partnered with grocery stores throughout the tribe’s 14-county reservation to help provide healthy and nutritious foods to pregnant or nursing women, infants, and children less than five years of age.