Not just delicious, local food can be affordable, too!
An increasing number of farmers markets are equipped to accept CalFresh/EBT (food stamps) in an effort to provide access to nutritious, fresh, locally grown food to everyone in Marin County. Currently farmers markets that accept CalFresh/EBT in Marin County include the Marin Civic Center, Point Reyes, Marinwood, Farifax, and Novato Farmers Markets, and the list continues to grow!
To use your EBT card at a participating farmers market, simply visit the farmers market information booth to have your EBT card processed for the amount you wish to spend at the farmers market. You will then be given tokens to spend at the farmers market where you can visit farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers, and bakers to purchase CalFresh/EBT eligible products using your tokens. Eligible items for purchase at farmers markets include fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, breads, cereals, and even seeds and plants that produce food! Simply remember that hot prepared food, alcohol, cut flowers, and non-food items cannot be purchased using CalFresh/EBT.
To make local food even more affordable for low-income shoppers, Market Match is currently being offered at a select few farmers markets in the county, including the Sunday and Thursday Marin Civic Center Farmers Market, and in coming weeks, the Point Reyes Farmers Market. This wonderful program will continue through the summer until all of the funds have been used.
The Market Match program is a statewide CalFresh incentive program offering additional money to CalFresh EBT cardholders (and sometimes those receiving WIC, Senior FMNP, and SSI benefits) and essentially doubles the value of CalFresh benefits. For example, when a shopper swipes their EBT card for $10 in EBT tokens at the Farmers Market Information Booth, they will receive an additional $10 in Market Match tokens. for a total of $20 in tokens to spend in support of local farmers.
Farmers can even choose to sign up to accept CalFresh all on their own directly at their farmers market booth, farm stand, or CSA. In fact, now until September 30, 2014, farmers can take advantage of a State program that provides certified farms with a free wireless EBT device valued at $1000. If you are a farmer interested in accepting CalFresh, learn more from this toolkit made by our friends at Petaluma Bounty in Sonoma County at bit.ly/Ua0164.