The Ecology Center is thrilled to announce that the legislature has included $20 million for the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) in the state budget over the next two years! This funding will ensure that hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians will continue to receive support for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at hundreds of farmers’ markets and other farm-direct sites through the Ecology Center’s Market Match program.
We want to express a huge thank you to Governor Newsom and the legislature, as well as our partners across the state who helped lobby for this important funding.
Market Match matches SNAP federal nutrition benefits, typically dollar-for-dollar up to a daily maximum, at nearly 300 participating farmers’ markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. The program helps low-income shoppers include more fruits and vegetables in their diet and directs more SNAP dollars towards small and mid-sized California farms. The Ecology Center spearheads the program with a network of over 50 partner organizations across the state.
The demand for Market Match has significantly increased since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2020, over 385,000 customers matched their benefits with Market Match, representing an almost 46% increase over 2019. Moreover, the amount of Market Match dollars distributed increased by about 45% from 2019 ($2.2M) to 2020 ($3.15M.) Typical program growth is usually around 10% annually.
This increased demand is why we are also excited to announce that the Market Match program will be receiving $5.96 million through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program COVID Relief and Response (GusCRR) grants program.
The GusCRR funds will enable the program to meet current demands, expand to new sites, and increase the amount given to SNAP participants. The majority of Market Match sites that had been limited to matching customers’ SNAP dollars up to $10 can increase their daily maximum to $15, meaning more fruits and vegetables on the tables of low-income families and more dollars in the pockets of local farmers.