The 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?
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
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
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
We are working to develop the Farmers’ Market Finder interactive directory for the entire state. In the meantime you can download select information on farmers’ markets by county here.
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.
Founded and led by Roots of Change since 2009, the California Market Match Consortium is about to enter its 5th year with the Ecology Center as the lead organization, providing programmatic oversight and coordinating this unique collaborative program. There are currently 12 member organizations running over 130 certified farmers’ markets throughout the state: Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM), Alchemist Community Development Corporation (CDC), Coastside Farmers’ Markets, Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC), Hunger Action Los Angeles (HALA), North Coast Growers Association’s (NCGA), Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA), Phat Beets Produce, Puente de la Costa Sur, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), and Visalia Farmers Market Association.
The Ecology Center is working to unify the branding and delivery of the program and to expand its scope to markets across the state. If you are interested in adding a Market Match program to your market, please contact us.
FARMERS’ MARKET EBT NEWS
Phone: (510) 548-1005
To receive our quarterly Farmers’ Market EBT Newsletter contact Carle Brinkman.