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State urges Bridge Card recipients to buy garden plants to stretch food budget


Living on a small income doesn't mean people can't eat well. Sometimes it just means getting your hands a bit dirty. 

The state of Michigan is encouraging Bridge Card holders to use their benefits to buy fresh produce at stores and farmers markets. It also suggests recipients buy fruit, vegetable and herb plants  to grow themselves.

Julian Darnton is with Michigan State University Extension. She says it makes good economic sense,  it's healthy, and you can grow a lot of things in containers, if you don't have space for a garden.
"A USDA report estimates that for an investment of $1, you can grow $25 worth of food," Darnton says. "So even with a small amount of space, a few tomato plants, a family can supplement what they’re already getting from their bridge card.

Darnton says an increase in the number of school gardens has created an interest among children to grow their own food.

Michigan will have more than 300 farmers markets this summer and Darnton says many accept Bridge cards.