Local Affordable Food Incentives

Making healthy, locally grown food more affordable for all people. Local Affordable Food  Incentives (L.A.F.I.’s) have multiple objectives including: increase consumption of healthy, local, sustainably grown food by low-income community members; improve the economic viability of local farms; and reduce the distance and disconnect between consumers and farmers.

Petaluma Bounty is transforming our food system by creating solutions that increase low-income consumers’ purchasing power of locally grown fresh produce; making the healthy choice easier. As mentioned above, LAFI’s improve community food security by empowering low-income customers to purchase healthy food from small scale farmers; benefiting community health, economic viability of small scale farmers, our local economy and the environment.

Over the past ten years, Petaluma Bounty attempted a number of initiatives including sliding scale farm stands, Mobile Market, harvest cards, Sponsor-a-box, and others with varying success. Starting in 2014, we coined the term, “LAFI’s” (still open to suggestions) and started providing technical assistance to other organizations and communities.

Expanding beyond Bounty produce outlets

In 2016, we started offering incentives at all outlets Bounty produce is sold. We are proud to offer Farmers’ Market LIFE CalFresh incentives for all produce farmers at a growing number of Farmers’ Markets in Sonoma and Marin County as we are improving the economic viability of small scale local farms by expanding their customer base and sales.

Also part of the expansion, Petaluma Bounty mentored West County Health Clinic to start their own Farmacy (Forestville), and a few select CSA subscriptions and farm stands of for-profit farms. If fully utilized, Petaluma Bounty will distribute another $5,750 of incentives through this expansion.

Additionally, through the expanded 2015 Farmers’ Market LIFE initiative, Petaluma Bounty has distributed $263,252 in incentives through the 2017 year. A higher goal has been set for this year as our reach continues to grow throughout the county.

Current LAFI’s include:

  • Bounty “Farmacy” at Petaluma Health Center: A weekly farm stand from June through October, which offers a sliding scale price structure based on economic need. Low-income patients can access 30% reduced prices on fresh produce, nutrition education sheets, and tips for making their market dollars go further. The Bounty “Farmacy” will be administered based on the honor system so that income verification will not be a barrier to healthy food.
  • Farmers’ Market L.I.F.E.: Also known as a “matching program”, Farmers’ Market L.I.F.E. (Local Incentive for Food and Economy) incentives make locally grown, fresh food more affordable to CalFresh (food stamp) customers because it “matches” what they normally spend at the farmers’ market up to a $10 or $20 maximum. Petaluma Bounty currently administers the Market Match Incentive Program at 13 markets and 15 outlets with two in Marin and 11 in Sonoma County.
  • Produce Prescription Program: A one-time $10 voucher for PHC patients that are CalFresh (foodstamp) eligible to be redeemed at the Bounty “Farmacy”. Along with the voucher, participants are provided information on how to connect to longer term Local Food Access Incentives as well as other free and reduced cost healthy food programs.
  • Sponsor-A-Box Initiative: Reducing the cost of Bounty Boxes for low-income community members facing food insecurity.
How are these local affordable food incentives funded?

Through donations from our community, corporate sponsorships, grants through foundations and the USDA FINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive) Program. In order to provide the incentives at the above outlets where Bounty Farm produce is sold, we must raise $8,155 of cash and allowable in-kind donations to offer a total of $13,830. The CalFresh incentives require a dollar for dollar match from local non-federal sources and the discounted produce is privately funded. (For more information on the FINI requirements, click here).

Each week, we need to raise a total of $340 (assuming a 24 week season) to provide the incentives where Bounty produce is sold. We are going to start asking our customers, business community, and everyone else to contribute to this fund so that we can expand our offering of local affordable fresh produce for consumers of limited resources.

If you are interested in supporting our innovative incentive work through a donation, please use the PayPal button below or mail a check to Petaluma Bounty (memo line Sponsor-A-Box) at 1500 Petaluma Blvd South, Petaluma, CA 94952.  If you are interested in holding an event, providing a corporate sponsorship, or volunteering, please connect with [email protected]

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