The City of Seattle is holding a launch event to announce the start of Fresh Bucks, a public program that provides up to a $10 match at Seattle farmers markets for EBT users. Now through Oct. 31, EBT users at 17 farmers’ markets and farm stands in Seattle will receive a $10 bonus match when spending $10 of EBT on each visit.
“For a low-income person, that extra $10 goes a long way.” said Emma Freeman, a senior on EBT, “Every family needs access to healthy food.”
In 2012, the city of Seattle piloted the Fresh Bucks program at seven Seattle farmers markets. Enrollment for EBT shot up 150 percent within its first week, while local farmers saw increased revenue of $70,000. Overall, the pilot program had a total economic impact of $125,000, according to the City of Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment.
“Fresh Bucks is a unique program.” said Tammy Nguyen, Got Green’s Women in the Green Economy Project organizer. “There are many great food programs, like Farmers Market Nutrition Program, but they have certain requirements like having children under 5 or being a senior. However, Fresh Bucks covers all low-income people on EBT who want to shop at their local farmers market.”
In June of this year, the City Council approved $50,000 in their supplemental budget, which along with private donations will fund the Fresh Bucks program again, expanding it to run at all Seattle farmers markets. Food advocates are expecting more and more low-income families to sign on and use the program and generate more income for local farmers and farmers markets.
Freeman is telling all of her friends and neighbors about the Fresh Bucks program.
“Access to fresh, local food is so important to keeping our communities healthy. We need the mayor and the city council to make this program permanent,” she said.
The City of Seattle is hosting a special launch event for the 2013 Fresh Bucks program, noon Wednesday, July 10 at the Pioneer Square Farmers Market, Occidental Park at S Main Street and Occidental Avenue S.
Where to get your Fresh Bucks
The City of Seattle has extended the Fresh Bucks program to all 17 local farmers’ markets and farm stands. EBT users will receive up to a $10 match when they use EBT funds at the following farmers’ markets: