Fresh Bucks

Extra Buying Power for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

Fresh Bucks

The Washington’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) Project works to improve the nutrition status of low-income households that are participating in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly known as "food stamps." Their Fresh Bucks program provides cash incentives at the point of purchase in farmers markets and grocery stores to encourage SNAP participants to buy more fruits and vegetables.

The program matches SNAP dollar-for-dollar up to $10 per cardholder per market per day. Thanks to a collaborative effort between MultiCare, Tacoma Farmer’s Market, Proctor Farmers Market, the Washington State Department of Health — as well as a US Department of Agriculture grant — Fresh Bucks provides SNAP shoppers with extra buying power at all seven Tacoma farmers markets.

Why Fresh Bucks? 

Fresh Bucks supports access to healthy foods by promoting healthy choices and reducing food insecurity. More reasons the Fresh Bucks program makes sense include:

  • Giving SNAP shoppers a bonus for using their benefits promotes shopping at farmers markets.
  • Fresh Bucks can only be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, with dollars going directly to local farmers.
  • Consuming the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Reducing the risk of disease decreases health care costs, increases productivity, and gives youth a healthy start!
  • These positive outcomes bring more SNAP users to the markets, generating business in the local community. The USDA estimates that every dollar of SNAP food stamp benefits results in $1.79 in economic stimulus.

How it Works

  1. Go: To your participating farmers market information tent.
  2. Swipe: Your EBT card for whatever amount you would like to spend at market.
  3. Match: Receive a one-to-one match in Fresh Bucks (up to $10) that can be used for fruit and vegetable purchases.
  4. Shop: For fresh produce and more.

Participating Locations

Find the market closest to you and ask about Fresh Bucks.

Tacoma Farmers' Markets has four seasonal locations, with the Broadway market open now:

  • The STAR Center South Tacoma: Sundays, 11am-3pm, May 21-Sept. 10
  • East Tacoma: Wednesdays, 3-6pm, June 21-Aug. 30, 1708 E 44th Street
  • Broadway: Thursdays, 10am-3pm, May 4-Oct. 26, 9th & Broadway
  • MultiCare Rose Garden at Tacoma General Hospital: Fridays, 11am-2pm, Aug. 4- Sept. 25

Proctor Farmers' Market is open every Saturday from 9am to 2pm from now through Dec. 16, 2017.

Orting Valley Farmers’ Market is open every Friday from 3pm to 7pm opening June 9th.

Puyallup Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from 9am – 2pm opening April 16th.

Fife Farmers’ Market is open Fridays from 3pm – 7pm opening June 16th.

Steilacoom Farmers’ Market is open Wednesday from 3pm – 7pm opening June 14th.

Gig Harbor Waterfront Farmers’ Market is open Thursdays from 3pm – 7pm opening June 1st.

Have Questions About Fresh Bucks?

What is Fresh Bucks?

Fresh Bucks is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) matching program available at all Tacoma farmers markets. Fresh Bucks matches SNAP purchases up to $10 once per market per day. Please double check participating locations and their season dates (links above) before making your trip to market.

Who is eligible for Fresh Bucks?

Any EBT cardholder is eligible for Fresh Bucks.

How do I get Fresh Bucks?

Go to the information booth at any Tacoma farmers market and swipe your EBT card for the amount you want to spend at the market that day. The booth manager will give you that amount of SNAP dollars in market currency to be used with any vendor selling EBT-eligible items, as well as an additional match (up to $10) in Fresh Bucks currency to be used on produce purchases (fruit, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms or plant starts).

Where can I spend my Fresh Bucks?

Fresh Bucks are redeemable at any participating location, directly with a produce vendor. If you have leftover Fresh Bucks from a previous trip to market, you may take them to any participating location, and can go directly to the booth where you wish to shop. Fresh Bucks can be used as full or partial payment (in addition to other currency such as cash or market bucks). No change will be given for Fresh Bucks.

Do Fresh Bucks expire?

Yes. Fresh Bucks expire on the year they are issued (so, Fresh Bucks issued this year expire in 2017). Fresh Bucks can't be used after they expire, so make sure you use them before the expiration date!

How long does the Fresh Bucks season last?

All Tacoma markets operate seasonally. You can find their dates of operation above.

Who is Fresh Bucks good for?

Only EBT cardholders are eligible to receive Fresh Bucks, but the Fresh Bucks program is good for everyone. The program helps low-income shoppers increase their purchasing power for fresh, local, healthy food while cultivating relationships with local growers. It helps farmers increase their revenue at the farmers market and create new connections with new customers. And it helps farmers markets remain diversified, community spaces that truly are for everyone.

Who funds Fresh Bucks?

Fresh Bucks in Tacoma is funded by many organizations. The Washington State Department of Health received a USDA Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentives grant that has allowed more markets in Pierce County to participate. MultiCare Center for Healthy Living & Health Equity, Tacoma Farmers Market, and Proctor Farmers Market provide matching contributions.

What can I do to help Fresh Bucks?

You can donate to Fresh Bucks through a farmers market. Each market has to contribute money/or time to cover some of the administrative costs for running the Fresh Bucks program, and your support can help strengthen your market's ability to participate and grow the program. Ask a farmers market manager or volunteer how you can contribute to their Fresh Bucks administrative costs.

Tell somebody you know about Fresh Bucks—spreading the word goes a long way. Email us to request paper outreach materials.

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