Farmers Market Triples EBT Matching to Help Fight Winter Hunger

Farmers Market Triples EBT Matching to Help Fight Winter Hunger

Olympia Farmers Market raised their matching "Fresh Bucks" limit to $60 for February in an effort to provide more healthy options for those on SNAP


Many people who depend upon SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) to help them afford food have a friend in the Olympia Farmers Market. The Market has been a leader from the time that farmer's markets were allowed to register with the state to be allowed to accept the federal SNAP funds. According to John Nason, Vice-President of Olympia Farmer's Market during an interview, the Olympia market was the first in the state to receive, and still use the effective number "1" in the program.

The "Fresh Bucks" matching program is much newer, having started with a federal grant only two years ago. The program that matches dollars spent with EBT food benefits with "fresh bucks" that can be used for locally grown fresh produce only started in 2018 after a federal grant was obtained through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program. FINI was just one of the many components of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Olympia Farmers Market has been offering "Fresh Bucks" which allow each SNAP shopper to receive a matching amount of the currency good at the locally grown fresh produce in the market since early 2018. According to Nason, the program started out with a $10 matching limit, but was quickly raised to $20 per market visit due to interest and to make sure that the grant funds were used during the prescribed amount of time.

In February 2020, the Fresh Bucks matching for EBT consumers is $60 per day. For each dollar, up to $60, a SNAP consumer will receive one "EBT Buck" which can be spent on any food item at participating vendors in the market, as well as one "Fresh Buck" for use limited to fresh local produce. So, for each dollar cashed out of a SNAP budget, there are two dollars to spend at the market!

The Olympia Farmers Market recently increased the amount of matching "Fresh Bucks" that an EBT recipient can receive at a time largely due to the limited hours that the market is open in the winter, says Nason. Although the market keeps the same hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. all year round, it is only open on Saturday from January through March. Nason stated the current special limit of $60 per day matched is a promotion for the month of February.

In spite of the fact the program is working, allowing participants in SNAP to purchase double the nutritious food they could have obtained without it, the current program is only funded through March 2020. Nason stated that the federal grant funding that had provided the matching funds did not approve the Olympia market's proposal, instead, their next year's funding will be coming from a state source. Nason mentioned that other markets in the area have matching programs that are privately funded and as an organization they will be looking more into alternative funding sources for the programs that benefited SNAP recipients to the tune of $43,000 matched in 2019, a 35% increase from the previous year.

"At the Olympia Farmers Market, participation in our EBT/Fresh Bucks Match program has doubled in the last two years. There seems to be no limit on the number of EBT customers who are interested in doubling their EBT dollars at the Farmers Market. We will continue to seek out new funding streams to provide the opportunity for our customers to double their spending power and to access all of the locally grown, nutritious food that is available at our Farmers Market."

The Olympia Farmers Market is not a lone soldier in the fight against hunger and for nutritious options. Across the country, there are farmers markets as well as some supermarkets that participate in programs designed to increase the amount of nutritious food available. Click here to locate FINI participating grocers and markets in your area.

UPDATE: The Olympia Farmer's Market no longer participates in the Fresh Bucks program. Instead they have funds from a local program for up to $20 in matching funds per day for 2020.

A stack of Olympia Farmer's Market's Fresh Bucks

Get your Fresh Bucks matching dollars Saturday at Olympia Farmers Market!

M Slighte

Report this Content
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less

8 Stories About BLM's Impact On Local Communities That'll Inspire You To Take Action

The power of the movement comes at the local level, where grassroots organizers are the spark that could instigate systemic change across the country.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

This month, Black Lives Matter protests have taken place across the country following the police killing of George Floyd — which was ruled a homicide by multiple medical examiner reports — and Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead by police in her home.

The protests have been a powerful outcry of energy that has put the nation on notice. The time has come for racism to be dismantled in institutions like the police that many claim still upholds a culture of brute force and stereotyping people of color.

Keep Reading... Show less

What Protesting For Black Lives Matter In Orlando Has Actually Been Like

What it's like fighting for Black Lives Matter on the front lines in Orlando, Florida.

Tipso Photo/Michael Lothrop

I, among hundreds of thousands of others across the globe, have participated in the peaceful protests against the attacks on civil rights at the hands of the police and under the command of our elected officials. This call to action is from the killing of George Floyd, 46, whose neck was knelt on by a white police officer for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the road.

Keep Reading... Show less

To End Systemic Racism, Black People Need To Be Heard

We don't need you to feel sorry for us, we need you to empathize with us.

Lindsay Mogle

These past few weeks have been some of the toughest in my lifetime. Something needs to be done, people are still losing their lives because of the color of their skin. In order for change, I can't be quiet anymore. This isn't political, and this isn't just about how I'm feeling at this moment. We, the Black people in this country, need our voices to be heard and our messages finally understood, because this time needs to be different.

Keep Reading... Show less

We Talked To BLM Organizer Tyrone Nance On The LA Protests And Systemic Racism

"As long as the breath flows out of my body I will continue to fight and advocate for all those who are marginalized and oppressed."

As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to march across the country to protest the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, many people are taking lead and using their voices to help spark systemic change.

These protests have sparked integral conversations across social media, in the national media, and have even started accelerating systemic change in many places. New York City is banning police restraints that choke people — even though the NYPD already have a ban in place.

Keep Reading... Show less

Elijah McClain's Case Is Being Reopened — His Family Is Still Waiting For Justice

The killing of an innocent Black man will be reinvestigated, and that news that brought me to tears.

9News / YouTube

On August 24, 2019, in Aurora, CO, a 23-year-old Black man named Elijah McClain was walking home from a convenience store after buying iced tea for his brother. He was wearing a ski mask because he was anemic and easily got cold. He was listening to music and dancing while he walked when someone called 911 on this Black man simply walking home.

Keep Reading... Show less

Arizona Might Be America's Newest Swing State — And The Closest Of The 2020 Election

After the surprise win of Kyrsten Sinema in 2018, Arizona has been placed on several lists as a swing state.

Arizona has voted Republican in every Presidential election except one since 1952. But in recent years, the state has been trending more and more to the middle. For example, in 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump won the state by about four percentage points. Before then in 2012, Mitt Romney won the Grand Canyon State by nine percentage points. If you look at other high profile races, like our U.S. Senate seats, John McCain won his election in 2016 by almost 14 points. Two years ago, a Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema, beat Republican Martha McSally in a squeaker, by two percentage points.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments