PAUL SMITHS A new food stamp program hopes to curtail the rising cost of food while simultaneously stimulating the local economy. Last Wednesday, Ellen Beberman manager of Paul Smiths College Farmers Market announced that beginning June 20, food stamp customers who purchase a minimum of $5 in tokens will be eligible to receive an additional $5 that can be spent at their local farmers market. The funds will be made available via a New York Fresh Check. This program piggy-backs the food stamps program, said Beberman. Food stamp customers can come to the farmers market in Paul Smiths then get a five dollar check. Youre really doubling your money if you participate in the program. The program, initiated by the Farmers Market Federation (FMF) of New York, hopes to attract new consumers to the farmers market. Beberman noted that the program helps out lower-income citizens while also drumming up support for eating healthy and eating local. This will be the innagural year for the Fresh Checks program, and Beberman added that the Colleges season which runs June 20 to Sept. 26, from 2-5 p.m. will be a sort of trial run. Furthermore, Beberman said that the Elizabethtown Farmers Market, a partner to Paul Smiths, also has the ability to test a similar program, but has not come on board as of yet. According to Diane Eggert, FMF executive director, market farmers can redeem their NY Fresh Checks for 100% of their value, thanks to funds made available by Humpty Dumpty Institute, a nonprofit that forges relationships between the private and public sectors. The ultimate goal of the NY Fresh Checks program is to bring food stamp customers into their local farmers market, she stated. There they can see for themselves that farmers market food is reasonably priced, extremely fresh and an excellent alternative or supplement to the grocery or convenience store. For more information about the NY Fresh Checks program, or to inquire about the Paul Smiths College Farmers Market, call 891-7470.