Fresh Access will allow SNAP benefits at farmers' markets
May 1, 2018
Soon Pittsburgh area farmers' markets will be opening for the 2018 season with an expanded Just Harvest Fresh Access program.
The program makes it possible for SNAP/food stamp participants to use their benefits at 19 area farmers' markets and two Grow Pittsburgh Farm stands, including three in South Pittsburgh: South Side, Carrick and Beechview. Fresh Access began with just two farmers' markets in 2013 and has grown.
SNAP/food stamp recipients can visit the Just Harvest red market tent or the market manager's tent where they can swipe their EBT cards to receive wood tokens that are accepted by many of the vendors and can be used to purchase food. As a bonus, for every $5 in tokens purchased with an EBT card, the participant receives an additional $2 in Food Bucks tokens.
The tokens may be used like cash to purchase fresh produce, baked goods, meat and dairy products.
According to Just Harvest, the goal of the program has three components: Making healthy, local foods available to low-income shoppers; increase vendor sales by opening up new revenue streams; and, supporting farmers' markets as community assets.
Last year, SNAP shoppers averaged $22.30 in purchases each time they visited a farmers' market. Credit and debit shoppers spent $20.72 on each visit. In 2017, the Fresh Access program generated $107,423 in sales for farmers and growers at the markets including total sales for SNAP, credit, debit and Food Buck sales.
More than three-quarters of the produce vendors at the markets reported thy sell more produce because of the program.
The South Side farmers' market at 18th and E. Carson streets will open for the season on Tuesday, May 15. Hours will be on Tuesdays from 3-7 p.m.
The Beechview farmers' market at Broadway and Hampshire avenues will open on Thursday, June 21. Hours will be on Thursdays from 4-7 p.m.
For a full list of all markets participating in the Fresh Access program, visit: https://bit.ly/2qoEaZR
For more information about the Fresh Access program, contact Averyl Hall, Fresh Access coordinator for Just Harvest, at 412-431-8960 ext. 110, or email: email@example.com.