Eating healthy is a challenge for many of us. However, for those who suffer from food hardship, the challenge isn’t one of willpower or planning, but a challenge of affordability. Healthy food, and especially healthy, local food usually costs more than processed food and therefore harder to include in a food budget for people with low incomes. Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program is one solution to help those who struggle to afford healthy food. Fresh Bucks doubles the purchasing power for people with low incomes who use their federal food stamp (SNAP) benefits to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at 29 participating Seattle & King County farmers markets and farm stands.
How does this program work? It’s easy! You go to a Fresh Bucks participating farmers market and swipe your EBT card for whatever amount you would like to spend at the market. You’ll receive EBT tokens to spend with any farmer’s market vendor selling EBT-eligible foods. In addition to your EBT tokens, you’ll also receive a Fresh Bucks match (up to $10) to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. Spending $10 of your EBT benefit gets you $20 worth of fruits and vegetables at a farmers market. It’s a simple and affordable way for you to increase the amount of healthy food you can buy for your family. And by shopping at a farmers’ market, you are supporting local farmers too!
If you haven’t tried Fresh Bucks yet, now is the perfect time. The farmers’ market season is in full swing – farmers market stalls are overflowing with delicious berries, hearty greens and sweet tomatoes. You can find a list of participating markets and farm stands at: www.freshbuckseattle.org.