Market Bucks Help Low-Income Minnesotans Eat Better This Summer

Contact: Jill Westfall, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, 651-789-9843, jwestfall@hungersolutions.org

Market Bucks Help Low-Income Minnesotans Eat Better This Summer

Program doubles spending power of SNAP customers at farmers markets statewide

St. Paul, Minn. – 6/12/17 – Market Bucks are now available at participating farmers market locations across the state. Affordable, healthy food is now easier to get for people who buy food with SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). The program matches SNAP customers spending dollar-for-dollar (up to $10), helping them afford more local, fresh, healthy foods.

“The Market Bucks program is a win-win for Minnesotans. SNAP users can increase their purchasing power at farmers markets to buy more fresh foods and local farmers are able to sell more of their products and grow their small businesses,” says Colleen Moriarty, executive director at Hunger Solutions Minnesota. “When you are on a small food budget it’s hard to afford fresh produce. Offering the ‘Spend $10, get $10’ match for SNAP users makes it easier for them to afford healthy foods to feed their families.”

In 2016, SNAP customers redeemed $554,745 in Market Bucks and SNAP at farmers markets – an increase of 153% from the year before. “The program is incredibly popular with SNAP customers,” says program manager Patti Whitney-Wise. “More Minnesotans than ever are able to afford fresh, local food produced by growers in their own communities.”

Market Bucks was started by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention. In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Healthy Eating Here at Home bill and appropriated funding through the State Center for Humanities to fund   the Market Bucks program. Minnesota was the first state to fund a farmers market incentive program in the country. The Center for Humanities contracts with Hunger Solutions Minnesota to administer the program.

Visit z.umn.edu/farmersmarkets to see a full list of farmers markets across Minnesota that are accepting EBT and participating in the 2017 Market Bucks program.  Call the Minnesota Food HelpLine (1-888-711-1151) for help finding participating farmers markets.

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota

Hunger Solutions Minnesota works to end hunger by strengthening Minnesota’s food shelves through funding and technical assistance, advancing fair public nutrition policies on behalf of hungry Minnesotans, and connecting organizations and individuals working to end hunger in Minnesota.

Our work is made possible through the generous support of donors across the country, each sharing our commitment to ensuring no Minnesotan will struggle with food insecurity alone. We have been recognized as the most efficient civic nonprofit for three years running by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

For more information visit: http://www.HungerSolutions.org or @HungerSolutions on Twitter.