Maine Harvest Bucks
With Maine Harvest Bucks, SNAP shoppers receive bonus fruits and vegetables from local farms, stretching limited benefits much further.
MFT is a proud partner in Maine Harvest Bucks, nutrition incentives that increase the value of federal nutrition assistance dollars spent at participating farmers markets, CSAs, and small retail outlets selling local produce. We have secured a major federal grant to expand Maine Harvest Bucks statewide at select retail outlets—like co-ops and food hubs.
WHAT ARE NUTRITION INCENTIVES?
Incentive programs like Maine Harvest Bucks offer discounts or bonuses to low-income shoppers who use SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) when they purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Maine Harvest Bucks cover part of the cost, so farmers are paid full price for all products sold through these programs.
Maine Harvest Bucks serve everyone:
- SNAP shoppers can buy more healthful food
- Maine farmers gain new customers
- More food dollars stay in the local economy
OUR ROLE: BRINGING MAINE HARVEST BUCKS TO RETAIL
In 2015, we received a major federal grant to expand Maine Harvest Bucks to local food retail outlets—like co-ops, food hubs and small grocers—to make Maine-grown produce more accessible for more Maine eaters. These retailers 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 will get MORE local fruits and veggies when they use their EBT card to shop at participating retailers.
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. 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 Maine Harvest Bucks at small retail outlets, farmers markets, farm stands, and CSAs, visit maineharvestbucks.org.
Expanding Maine Harvest Bucks around the state to farmers markets, farm stands, retailers, 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.