The 2013 Fresh Bucks season is over. The program will start again in the summer of 2014.
The goal of the Fresh Bucks program is to support consumption of more fruits and vegetables by low-income recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Fresh Bucks doubles the value of SNAP benefits redemeed at Seattle Farmers Markets, up to $10 per day. Additionally, Fresh Bucks affects a neighborhood's social environment by encouraging low-income customers and SNAP participants to shop at local farmers' markets. Fresh Bucks is a joint collaboration among the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment, the Washington State Farmers Market Association and Seattle's farmers markets. Fresh Bucks has also been generously supported by Chase Bank and the Seattle Foundation.
Why Fresh Bucks?
Breaking down food barriers while building a healthy economy
For low-income populations, cost is cited as a key barrier to eating recommended quantities of fruits and vegetables. Fresh Bucks addresses the related issues of hunger and obesity by promoting healthful choices while reducing food insecurity:
- Giving low-income shoppers a bonus for using their SNAP benefits promotes shopping at farmers markets.
- Fresh Bucks can only be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, while SNAP benefits may be used for many types of processed food products-some healthier than others.
- Consuming the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Reducing the risk of disease decreases healthcare costs, increases productivity, and gives youth a healthy start with improved outcomes down the road.
- Shoppers participating in the Fresh Bucks pilot valued being able to take their children to the farmers market, being able to purchase fruits and vegetables that their children request, and meeting the farmer who grew their food.
- These positive outcomes bring more SNAP users to the markets, generating economic stimulus in the local community.
- The USDA estimates that every dollar of SNAP food stamp benefits results in $1.79 in economic stimulus-dollars that go directly to farmers in our region.