Farm Fresh Rewards
With Farm Fresh Rewards, shoppers using SNAP/EBT receive bonus fruits and vegetables from local farms, stretching limited benefits much further.
MFT manages Farm Fresh Rewards, nutrition incentives that increase the value of federal nutrition assistance dollars spent at participating stores. This complements Maine Harvest Bucks, managed by Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, which can be found at participating farmers markets, CSAs, and farm stands around the state.
Read about the impact these programs are having statewide here.
WHAT ARE NUTRITION INCENTIVES?
Incentive programs like Farm Fresh Rewards offer discounts or bonuses to low-income shoppers who use SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) when they purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Farm Fresh Rewards cover part of the cost, so farmers are paid full price for all products sold through these programs.
Farm Fresh Rewards serve everyone:
- SNAP shoppers can buy more healthful, local food
- Maine farmers gain new customers
- More food dollars stay in the local economy
OUR ROLE: BRINGING NUTRITION INCENTIVES TO RETAIL
MFT and other partners have been implementing similar nutrition incentive programs at farmers markets for several years. These programs have proven successful in boosting both access to healthy food and farmer earnings.
In 2015, we received a major federal grant to expand nutrition incentives to stores selling local food—like co-ops, food hubs and small grocers—to make Maine-grown produce more accessible for more Maine eaters. These stores play an important role in Maine’s food system. They are often more mainstream outlets where customers get a larger proportion of their groceries than direct to consumer outlets such as CSAs and farmers markets. With this new program, SNAP shoppers get MORE local fruits and veggies when they use their EBT card to shop at participating stores.
When more Mainers can buy more local food at local retailers, everyone wins: families are able to make healthier choices, farmers get a financial boost, and local economies thrive.
HOW IT WORKS
To find out how to use Farm Fresh Rewards at small retail outlets, visit farmfreshrewards.org (or maineharvestbucks.org/retail). To learn more about Maine Harvest Bucks at farmers markets, farm stands, and CSAs, visit maineharvestbucks.org.
Expanding nutrition incentives around the state to farmers markets, farm stands, stores, and other locations is the current priority of the Maine Local Foods Access Network.
Thanks to the support of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation we have been able to expand this program in Southern Maine.