Alemany Farmers' Market Launches $5 Incentive for Food Stamp Users

Categories: Farm Fresh
Alemany_Market_Spivak.jpg
Stu Spivack
Shopping at Alemany Market.
For more than five years, shoppers at the Alemany farmers' market have been able to present their CalFresh (food stamp) cards at the central office and exchange their benefits for blue $1 tokens to spend at the stands. Most of the markets in the city, including the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, provide a similar service. At Alemany, however, few shoppers have used the tokens. So this weekend a coalition of city agencies and organizations launched an incentive program, Farmers' Market Bonus Bucks. CalFresh customers who spend $10 on fruits and vegetables at the market will get an extra $5 worth of tokens free.

The incentive program actually began last summer, spearheaded by the Campaign for Better Nutrition, a local nonprofit. In 2010, it rolled out the Bonus Bucks pilot program at three markets: Alemany, Fillmore, and Divisadero. "We decided to continue at Alemany because it had the highest participation [of the three pilot sites] and lowest prices, so we really wanted to make sure we were using everybody's funds appropriately," says Colleen Kavanaugh, director of Campaign for Better Nutrition. "We didn't want them to have to spend their tight budgets on $4 peaches."

The organization has mailed flyers to all the food stamp recipients in the zip codes surrounding the Saturday market, which is just south of Bernal Heights, and is working with several local clinics to help promote it. The city's Department of Public Health, Human Services Agency, and Real Estate Division have chipped in to publicize the program, but most of the incentive funds are coming from private donations.

Market shoppers can get the extra $5 each week they shop, and Kavanaugh says the program will continue until it runs out of funds. "If we increase that pot of money, it'll last longer." SFoodie believes that's a hint.

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Fantastikfoodie21
Fantastikfoodie21

where to get ebt coins in alemany? never know where to find the booth for 2 years now

Colleen
Colleen

You get the EBT coins at the Alemany Farmers' Market office, where the prepared food vendors are (which is the same building where the bathrooms are).  If the office is locked, it just means the staff is out in the market working. Either wait a few minutes or come back to get your tokens.  Bring your EBT card with you.  Enjoy!

Happycamper
Happycamper

What a great idea! Finally someone understands that being poor is not a permanent condition or a moral failing, it's a win win for the food stamp recipients and produce purveyors.

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