Courtesy of City of Seattle

Fresh Bucks program to continue at West Seattle Farmers Market and High Point Farm Stand

After a successful pilot run in 2012, the City of Seattle announced their Fresh Bucks program – encouraging food stamp recipients to shop at farmers’ markets throughout the city – will continue through October of 2013.

With the program, SNAP food stamp recipients who spend at least $10 with their EBT cards receive an additional $10 in Fresh Bucks per day when purchasing fruits and vegetables.

The West Seattle Farmers Market (Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Alaska Junction) and High Point Farm Stand (Wednesdays, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 32nd Ave. S.W. and S.W. Juneau St.) are participating West Seattle locations.

According to Mayor Mike McGinn’s Office, “For low-income individuals, cost is a barrier to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Fresh Bucks helps reduce that burden while supporting the local economy. The 2012 Fresh Bucks pilot, developed and managed in partnership with the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance (NFMA), was featured at seven NFMA Farmers Markets and yielded the following results:

• Nearly 1500 low-income shoppers, including 900 who had never shopped at Farmers Markets before, purchased fruits and vegetables at Farmers Markets.

• Eighty-five percent of shoppers surveyed said they had increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables as a result of Fresh Bucks.

• Provided an economic stimulus to local businesses. Using the USDA’s economic multiplier for SNAP, the $55,000 invested in Fresh Bucks in 2012 generated $125,300 in local stimulus to the economy.

“Everyone in Seattle deserves access to healthy, fresh, food, no matter how much money they make” Mayor McGinn said in a press release. “Fresh Bucks makes it easier for Seattle families to eat well. Keeping Seattle healthy means a stronger workforce, lower health care costs, and improved quality of life for everyone.”

“Hundreds of residents signed a petition to support the Fresh Bucks Program,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin in a press release. “This program is a great example of how we can work together with private philanthropy to make healthy and local food available to more Seattle residents.”

The Fresh Bucks program is supported by JP Morgan Chase, the Seattle Foundation and 17 farmers markets and stands throughout Seattle.

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