The Farmers Market Federation of New York, a 2006 PPS grantee, received a $125,000 grant from the Humpty Dumpty Institute to encourage Electronic Benefit Transfer (food stamp) recipients in upstate New York to use their benefits at their local farmers markets. The pilot program hopes to expand the use of EBT cards at 43 farmers markets in upstate counties.
Beginning in the 2008 market season, EBT customers will receive a $5 coupon for every $5 they spend using EBT on fruits and vegetables at a farmers market. This will not only double their purchasing power, but will also double the amount of healthy, local produce they take home. ï¾“This program has double impact. It not only encourages food stamp recipients to purchase more fruits and vegetable, but also benefits New Yorkï¾’s small family farmers,ï¾” said Constance Milstein, chairman of the Humpty Dumpty Institute.
Incentives programs for attracting EBT clients to farmers markets have been successful in markets across the nation, including in Lynn, Massachusetts and New York City, where the cityï¾’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is partnering with farmers markets to distribute Health Bucks, $2 coupons for fresh produce, to EBT customers spending $5 in local produce at the markets.