Fresh Bucks helps make fruits and vegetables affordable to Seattle residents who struggle to afford nutritious food. The program has grown steadily since 2012, and in 2018, with investment from Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax, Fresh Bucks provided close to $1.5 million in fruit and vegetable benefits to residents – an increase of nearly 500% over 2017.
The newly released 2018 Impact Report features several areas of Fresh Bucks growth including expanded program eligibility, increased our retail network, and grew our impact on the regional food economy. Highlights from the report include:
- More Seattle residents have access to Fresh Bucks: With funding from the Sweetened Beverage Tax, Fresh Bucks vouchers are now available to people who don’t qualify for state and federal food benefit programs, but still struggle to afford healthy food. Prior to 2018, Fresh Bucks was only available to people who receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits. With 2018’s eligibility expansion, customers made nearly 35,000 more Fresh Bucks fruit and vegetable purchases than they did in 2017.
- Large selection of Fresh Bucks retailers encourages customer choice: Fresh Bucks has steadily grown our retail network for several years by adding farmers markets, farm stands, and ethnic grocers. As of 2018, customers can shop at 65 retailers, including all Seattle Safeway stores, increasing the number of year-round retail partners and providing convenient access in more Seattle neighborhoods.
- Fresh Bucks helps stimulate the regional economy: Customers can use vouchers at participating farmers markets, neighborhood grocers, CSAs, and Safeway stores, which benefits the local economy by keeping dollars circulating within the region. Based on the USDA economic multiplier for SNAP benefits, Fresh Bucks generated over $3 million in economic impact in 2018.
“Fresh Bucks is so good for both the customer and the farmer,” says Kirsop Farm’s Genine Bradwin. “Not only does the program allow customers to get more fruits and vegetables for their money, but it also brings new customers to the farmers market who may not otherwise have chosen to spend their money directly with a local farmer.”
Fresh Bucks works thanks to a growing network of partners who are dedicated to improving access to healthy foods. Learn more in the 2018 Fresh Bucks Impact Report or visit www.freshbuckseattle.org for more information.