Providing extra buying power for low-income shoppers at Seattle Farmers Markets
EBT shoppers who receive Basic Food assistance can double their money - up to $10 per market per day - using Fresh Bucks.
When you spend $10 with your EBT card at a Seattle Farmers Market or Farm Stand, you get $10 in Fresh Bucks to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and edible plant starts. Fresh Bucks is available at all Seattle Farmers markets. More information and a map of market locations available here.
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. 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.