Fresh Bucks

Increasing access to healthy, affordable produce.

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There’s a locally grown incentive program in Seattle that’s not only giving families access to healthier food, it's providing the farms growing the food a much-needed boost to their earnings.

The Fresh Bucks program, a partnership between the City of Seattle, the Washington State Farmers Market Association, and participating farmers markets launched in seven Seattle farmers markets in 2012, with the help of a $60,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The program works by matching Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card values dollar-for-dollar, up to $10 per cardholder in each market, every day. The extra funds allow low-income shoppers to buy twice as many fruits and vegetables with their limited food dollars. In addition to helping shoppers, participating markets saw an 86% increase in SNAP transactions in the first year of the program—helping to organically grow the local economy. In fact, the USDA estimates that every $1 of SNAP food stamp benefits results in $1.79 in economic stimulus.

Transforming healthy food into a healthy economy.

From 2012 to 2014, Fresh Bucks was able to dramatically increase participation—circulating even more revenue back into the local economy.

350 percent

The increase in revenue ($70,000 to $245,000) to local farmers from 2012 to 20141.

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Number of new program participants from 2012 to 20141.

89 percent

The percentage of participants who ate more fresh fruits and vegetables in 20141.

Fast-forward to 2015 and Fresh Bucks has been so successful that they were able to extend the program year-round. That means more time to get more fresh produce to more people. Plus, it’s a healthy dose of revenue for Washington farmers. And, we’re proud to be a part of that.

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Local residents are able to redeem their Fresh Bucks at any of the 21 organic farmers’ markets and farm stands throughout the city.

Meet the people behind the program.

SHARON LERMAN

Food Policy Advisor, City of Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment


“Too many people are getting sick because healthy food doesn’t fit in their budgets. With Fresh Bucks, we pay the farmer now instead of the doctor later.”

KAREN KINNEY

Executive Director,
Washington State Farmers Market Association

“In order to make farmers markets successful, we need to include everyone. Fresh Bucks gives more families the chance to buy fresh, tasty food right in their communities.”

For more information, visit: http://www.wafarmersmarkets.com/foodaccess/freshbucks.html.

1
Per City of Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment internal program data (October 2015)