New program will double the number of dollars households using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and increase farmers' incomes with additional sales.

Great news for local farmers and low-income shoppers, the Mt. Shasta Farmers’ Market will be participating in the Market Match program for the 2015 season.

As described by Farmers’ Market manager Kirsten Olson, “Market Match is an incredibly dynamic program that increases access to the foods offered at the Mt. Shasta Farmers’ Market for those receiving CalFresh/SNAP benefits. With the support of the Mt. Shasta community, the farmers’ market will be able to double the amount of dollars that SNAP program participants receive. And as a result, Market Match also increases the farmers’ income with additional sales. Plus, every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in total community spending! This is a win-win-win for farmers, low income shoppers and our local economy.”

Mount Shasta’s participation in the program is the result of the USDA’s first Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive grant, which was recently awarded to a partner organization of the farmers’ market, The Ecology Center in Berkeley.

The Market Match website states, “Through this grant, we are partnering with 30 market operators and community-based organizations in order to connect nearly 240,000 food-insecure CalFresh shoppers with 2,200 of the state’s small farms, stimulating $9,800,000 in fruit and vegetable sales.”

Nancy Swift, executive director of Mt. Shasta Farmers’ Market’s parent organization, Jefferson Economic Development Institute, said, “The Mount Shasta Farmers’ Market is pleased to participate in Market Match for the first time and we are so thrilled to increase income to the growers and enable low income shoppers to get more bang for their buck. This is a win-win program and the Mt. Shasta Market is very pleased to be a part of this activity. We are so appreciative of our alliance with the Ecology Center based in Berkeley, CA who wrote this collaborative proposal and we hope to expand this opportunity to more certified markets in the region as time goes on.”

Market Match doubles the amount of tokens purchased at a farmer’s market using CalFresh or WIC food benefits. For example, an EBT card purchase of $10 would result in $20 worth of tokens to be spent at the market. The bonus $10 in tokens could only be used to purchase fruits and vegetables, while the original $10 purchased by the customer could be spent on any EBT eligible food item. This program allows shoppers that might be deterred by the prices of produce to purchase fresh, local food while supporting farmers in the community.

Updates on the Farmers’ Market can be found on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MtShastaFarmersMarket. For more about Market Match see: marketmatch.org and ecologycenter.org.