For Som, summer August days means weekly shopping trips to the Columbia City Farmers Market, “We are actually able to eat fruits and vegetables regularly, instead of occasionally [when] we would splurge,” she says. Som is a Fresh Bucks customer and is excited to spread the word about the program. As a mom with a young son, she adds, “Fresh Bucks has made a huge impact…eating seasonal produce is now an option for us, we weren’t able to do that before.”
Fresh Bucks works with local partners to enable families with tight budgets to access and afford high-quality foods, like locally grown fruits and vegetables. Fresh Bucks provides a dollar-for-dollar match on food stamps (SNAP/EBT benefits), and a voucher program, where eligible and enrolled customers receive vouchers to buy fruits and vegetables. Fresh Bucks can be used at over 40 farmers markets and farm stands in Seattle and King County, five neighborhood grocers and all Seattle Safeway stores.
Neighborhood farmers markets have been offering Fresh Bucks since 2012. Farmers markets offer opportunities for community members to connect with family farmers and local vendors, and to support small farm businesses. Market vendors are eager to give valuable advice about seasonal produce or how to grow your own vegetables. On-site cooking demonstrations mean shoppers can walk away with a recipe and buy delicious produce with Fresh Bucks, all in one stop.
With visiting chefs, live music and other artists, residents can expect a variety of things to hear, see, and taste this market season. And program partners are committed to helping families like Som’s. As Som wraps up her trip to the market, she mentions, “Fresh Bucks reaches families that often don’t qualify for any other assistance. I actually thought there wasn’t anything available for us until we learned about Fresh Bucks. Now, I just want everyone to know about it.”
Check out this video to learn more about how Fresh Bucks is helping Seattle residents like Som.