The Seattle City Council recently adopted a budget amendment to add funding to the Fresh Bucks program, which doubles the value of food stamp benefits when used to purchase fresh food at Seattle farmers markets. The Fresh Bucks program began as a pilot project in 2012, serving only 7 farmers markets in Seattle. With the additional funding from the City, along with funding from other community partners, Fresh Bucks will expand to all of Seattle’s farmers markets.
“Many low-income people would like to purchase healthy food options, but costs can be prohibitive. Fresh Bucks puts fresh fruit and vegetables on the dinner table, while supporting local farmers,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, sponsor of the budget amendment.
According to Fresh Bucks, the 2012 pilot helped nearly 1,500 low-income shoppers, including 900 who had never shopped at farmers markets before. The leveraging of food stamp value, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), resulted in 81% of survey respondents that Fresh Bucks made a difference in their families’ diets.