Farmers’ Market EBT Program

Katie EBT for WebThe Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market EBT Program assists farmers’ market operators and community partners in establishing, implementing, and promoting CalFresh EBT access (formerly known as Food Stamps) at farmers’ markets.

Since pioneering California’s Point of Sale model (POS) at the Ecology Center’s Berkeley Market in 2003, the Farmers’ Market EBT Program has worked with markets statewide to identify the barriers to CalFresh EBT adoption and overcome them. To date, we’ve assisted over 250 individual markets statewide with their EBT Programs.The project is funded in part by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, through the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.

WHAT IS EBT?

Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or CalFresh, are no longer issued paper Food Stamps. Instead, they are issued an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card where recipients can access their food benefits electronically by swiping their card at the point of sale.

In order to accept CalFresh EBT cards, farmers’ markets typically establish a central Point of Sale (POS) model, allowing the market to sell EBT scrip to customers at a central point in the market. The customer then spends their EBT scrip with any eligible food producer in the market and the market manager later redeems the scrip for cash or in place of a stall fee. This system requires the farmers’ market manager or operator to become authorized as a SNAP retailer by Federal Nutrition Services (FNS) USDA, and to implement and promote the EBT program. For more information about SNAP call 1-877-847-3663.


Check out this video to see how CalFresh EBT works at the farmers’ market.


HOW TO ACCEPT EBT AT YOUR FARMERS’ MARKET

To learn how to accept EBT at your farmers’ market, check out our new and improved Simple Guide for Market Managers. It will walk you through the process step-by-step, or contact us for further assistance.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will provide a free wireless POS terminal to process CalFresh EBT at your farmers’ market. CDSS will provide and maintain the equipment and pay all associated fees. First, apply online to be authorized by the USDA to accept EBT cards.


EBT POSTERS, HANDOUTS, AND TOOLS

On our EBT Resource page, you will find editable bookkeeping tools, educational handouts for vendors, and promotional materials like posters and banners for establishing and promoting your market’s EBT program.

We may be able to assist farmers’ markets in need with design, order and purchase of EBT Scrip as well as other promotional materials. Please contact us for more details.


DIRECTORY OF EBT-ACCESSIBLE FARMERS’ MARKETS IN CA

Visit our NEW Farmers’ Market Finder page for information on CalFresh, WIC and Market Match at farmers’ markets statewide.


MARKET MATCH

Market Match is a statewide healthy food incentive program, matching customer’s federal nutrition assistance benefits, like CalFresh and WIC, at farmers’ markets. The California Market Match Consortium (CMMC) is made up of seventeen community based organizations and farmers’ market operators representing over 150 farmers’ markets across the state.

Market Match empowers low-income shoppers to make healthy food choices by overcoming financial barriers. It supports job creation, local economic development, and civic engagement by leveraging the benefits of farmers markets for a broader community. Further, Market Match helps stabilize and support rural communities by providing an additional income for small farmers selling at farmers’ markets.

Click here to read more about the statewide Market Match Program.



CONTACT

Farmers’ Market EBT Project Assistant, Rebecca Milliken
Email: ebtassist@ecologycenter.org
Phone: (415) 763-5856
To receive our quarterly Farmers’ Market EBT Newsletter contact Rebecca Milliken.

OUR FUNDERS

The Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market EBT Program is funded in part by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, through the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.