SNAP offers fresh and locally sourced
benefit to local families and individuals

By Moira Blazi

Annie Gassmann, Myranda Cravens and Cathy
Spencer of The Farmers Market at Libby display market

tokens used with the SNAP program to bring fresh and local produce and other foods to those in need of assistance.
(Photo by Moira Blazi)


Sometimes opportunity can seem too good to be true. If you are a SNAP recipient in Libby or Troy and enjoying the fresh, healthy and
delicious food available each summer season, then you know this
feeling. Plus, eating
locally sourced food is one of the very best ways to do our part lessening the stress and strain on our mother Earth.


Making farm-to-table food accessible for
everyone, the Farmers Markets in both Libby and Troy have been continuing to work
with the SNAP
program (Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program)  to provide nutritional benefits which supplement the food budget of both families and individuals through purchase assistance for healthy foods.

Here’s how it works :  Market-goers swipe a pre-issued EBT card at the Market Managers tent in Libby or Troy for any amount they choose. Tokens are then received to spend on food at the market. If you buy fresh vegetables, fruits, or plant starts from your local farmers, the Markets will match that purchase up to $20 per week. Market vendors then return the tokens for reimbursement.

Nearly 50% of farms in Montana are small farms of less than 180 acres. The Double SNAP dollar program helps those farms reach more customers. Patrons of the Libby market may purchase from farmers like Megan Leach of Dragon’s Breath Farm, Bonnie and Rudy Gerber of Hoot Owl Farm, and others who grow and market an impressive variety of fresh and locally grown produce. In Troy, Bradley Dunn-Meier of BLD farms, Brenda Nagode of “Brenda’s Bounty” and Dianna Wilson-ridge are among those who also honor Double SNAP tokens.

When you consider the cycle of opportunity for marketgoers, it is truly remarkable. People get fresh, super healthy food – and lots of it. And the farmer gets paid through Federal SNAP money which goes directly to them – no middleman, no paperwork, no waste whatsoever.

SNAP eligible recipients who wish to buy baked goods, jams, jellies, or eggs can also make those purchases through straight dollar-for-dollar tokens. Of several vendors who honor these purchases are The Gracious Table, Foxfishe, Hambone Farms, and the Amish Farm To Market Store in Libby. Laurie Hicks of The Happy Cooker and Brenda Nagode of Brenda’s Bounty also add to the variety of baked and bottled goods available for SNAP purchase in Troy.

According to Libby market manager, Cathy Spencer, Market customers had purchased $2,012 worth of fresh food through the SNAP program in 2020, with $1,878 of that amount processed in Double SNAP dollars.

The Libby Farmers Market is held every Thursday evening from 3:00- 6:30 p.m. at the Libby Chamber of Commerce. The Troy Farmers market is held every Friday from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Troy Museum and Visitor’s Center.

To learn more about the SNAP program and how to apply for the program, please call Cathy at 406-293-1086.

Libby Family Eye Care transitions to new generation of ownership in practice

Submitted by Libby Family Eye Care

Left to Right: Dr. Tanner Lightbourne, Dr. Terry Patrick and Dr. James R. Luscher
Dr. Lighthouse will be stepping into the lead at Libby Family Eye Care which had been

established by Dr. Luscher in 1965 and owned by Dr. Patrick since 2000. Clients of the

practice will be seeing Dr. Lighthouse as he transitions into his ownership of the clinic,

soon to be called Northwest Family Eye Care, over the next three months.

(Courtesy Photo)


Dr. Terry C. Patrick will be transitioning to retirement over the next three months. If you have an appointment at Libby Family Eye Care in July, August or September, you will likely see a new face in his place.

Dr. Tanner Lightbourne of Great Falls, Mont. will be transitioning into his lead role at Libby Family Eye Care while current staff – Callie Blaz, Sheena Fiscus, Lisa Sooter and Deb Mickelson – will continue to support Dr. Lightbourne and all
Libby Family Eye Care clientele.

Dr. Patrick and Denice Purdy-Patrick came to Libby the summer of 2000 and purchased the practice that had been established in 1965 by Dr. James R. Luscher and his wife Yvonne. At that time, the clinic was located where the CARD Clinic now resides.

In 2005 the practice was moved to its current location at 610 California Ave. across the street from Glacier Bank. Dr. Lightbourne currently has no plans to change location but will change the name of the practice to Northwest Family Eye care.

Dr. Lightbourne was born and raised in Great Falls. He graduated from
Great Falls High School and then went on to MSU Bozeman where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience. Upon graduation he continued his studies at Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., where he
received a Doctor of Optometry Degree.

Tanner was fortunate to meet his beautiful wife, Kayla, through mutual friends while attending MSU.  Kayla was raised in Cut Bank, Mont.  She graduated from MSU with a degree in K-8 Elementary Education and has taught first grade for the last three years in Arizona.  She will be teaching 3rd grade in Troy for the coming year and is very excited about that.

Tanner and Kayla’s interests include everything outdoors and they cannot wait to explore the Cabinets. They love to golf, ski, fish, wakeboard and play
tennis. Please show them a big welcome and let them enjoy what Terry, Denice, and Callie have enjoyed in our time here in Libby.

Thank you from all of us… What a great run it was!!!