'Fresh Bucks' program takes root
“Fresh Bucks” is the Nashville Farmers’ Market’s incentive program for customers who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — a longstanding initiative that increases access to healthy food while benefitting local farmers. National Hunger Awareness Month (September) seems a fitting time to celebrate the growth and success that Fresh Bucks has seen during this year’s peak season.
Since the program was reintroduced in May, the number of Fresh Bucks transactions has grown every month. Throughout the 2019 market season, SNAP users have collectively brought in more than $1,700 in receipts (averaging $15 per transaction), receiving a matching dollar amount in Fresh Bucks tokens in return. The tokens can then be used to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers at the Nashville Farmers’ Market.
Farmers are then reimbursed for the tokens through funding provided by the Friends of the Nashville Farmers’ Market. Interest in participating in the Fresh Bucks program has grown in the market community, with two new farms accepting SNAP dollars since the start of the season. The participating farms are as follows:
Simons Farm & Produce
Hancock Family Farm (new in 2019)
Morning Star Farm (new in 2019)
In the future we hope to grow participation in the program from SNAP customers, increase the amount of vendors who accept SNAP and work with farmers to diversify the range of products that can be purchased with SNAP dollars.