August through October, NOFA-VT’s Crop Cash Program offers $3 in spending power for every $1 of 3SquaresVT/SNAP spent at qualifying Farmers Markets in Vermont
There are currently more than 68,000 Vermonters who receive 3SquaresVT benefits (known as SNAP nationally) to help them provide food for their families. Starting August 1st, Vermonters who spend some of their 3SquaresVT benefits at 28 participating farmers markets across the state will be able to triple their spending power by purchasing fresh, local food with Crop Cash. The Crop Cash Program is administered by NOFA-VT, who has been incentivizing the use of 3SquaresVT/SNAP benefits at farmers markets for more than 10 years. Typically, Crop Cash provides a one-to-one match of 3SquaresVT/SNAP benefits, up to $10 per day. However, for the months of August, September, and October, NOFA-VT will double the Crop Cash match (i.e. a two-for-one match), providing up to $20 extra per day. That means Vermonters shopping with 3SquaresVT/SNAP benefits will have triple the spending power for fresh, local food at the farmers market.
The Crop Cash Program works like this: customers go to the booth at the market designated with the yellow “EBT and Debit Cards Accepted Here” banner. They decide how much of their 3SquaresVT/SNAP benefits they would like to spend at the market, and then swipe their EBT card. Customers who receive their 3SquaresVT benefits directly deposited into their bank accounts can still use the program. They will be given wooden tokens worth $1 to use at any vendor that sells 3SquaresVT eligible foods. As a bonus for shopping at the market, they will also be given Crop Cash, an incentive in the form of a $1 dollar bill that matches their 3SquaresVT purchase, up to $10 per market day (up to $20 per market day for the months of August, September, and October). Crop Cash is then used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from vendors at the farmers market or it can be saved to use at the market later in the season.
The Crop Cash Program benefits 3SquaresVT/SNAP households, Vermont farmers, and the local economy by increasing the opportunity for limited-income Vermonters to use their federal benefit dollars to purchase more fresh, local produce that directly supports local farm businesses.
“Crop Cash is at the very heart of our mission to grow a thriving, ecological, and equitable local food movement here in Vermont,” says NOFA-VT’s Executive Director, Grace Oedel. “This program is a win-win for everyone. It contributes to the local economy, puts money into the hands of Vermont’s farmers, and provides healthy, nourishing food for all Vermonters.”
For more information on Crop Cash, including a list of participating markets, visit www.nofavt.org/cropcash, dial 2-1-1, or contact Emmet Moseley, NOFA-VT’s Community Food Access Programs Coordinator, at 802-434-7162 or [email protected].
The Crop Cash Program is coordinated by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), with funding from the USDA and Vermont Foodbank.