This post is part of Petaluma Bounty’s CalFresh Awareness Month Blog Series.
Farmers’ markets, currently operating as essential services, continue to be an important conduit of fresh, nutrient-rich foods for people on CalFresh through an initiative called Market Match. (Note: our next blog post will be dedicated to sharing all safety precautions markets are spearheading amidst the pandemic).
Market Match, a program of Berkeley’s Ecology Center, was founded in 2009 and now operates at over 290 sites throughout California. Since August 2015, Petaluma Bounty’s Farmers’ Market L.I.F.E. (Local Incentives for Food and Economy) has coordinated Market Match for around 15 farmers’ markets in Sonoma and Marin Counties. The program encourages partner farmers’ markets to perform a dollar for dollar match on CalFresh, meaning double the amount of fresh, local produce for eligible customers and more fruit and vegetable sales for participating farmers.
To emphasize and further share the many benefits of CalFresh on a local level, we’re raising the Market Match amount at all FM L.I.F.E. farmers’ markets to $20 for the month of May.
In other words, if you spend $20 of your CalFresh EBT at the farmers’ market, you’ll receive an extra $20 for a total of $40 to spend on local produce, which effectively supports small farmers and increases economic access to local food. To find out if your community farmers’ market is participating in Market Match, check out Market Finder here.
If you’re curious about using CalFresh at farmers’ markets, watch this short video created by Agricultural Community Events that contains step by step information on exactly what to expect.
Quick Market Match Facts:
- Only fresh fruits and veggies are eligible for Market Match. However, you can still use your CalFresh EBT (just not your Match) on other items like hot foods, prepared meals, bakery goods etc.
- Spending Market Match directly benefits small farmers! They can use it to pay their market stall fees or exchange it with the market manager for cash.