Working to grow markets for local products, improve affordability of healthy foods, increase availability of produce at food banks, and increase demand for local products. The Local Food Initiative’s food economy target is to double demand for locally produced, healthy food from $93 million to $186 million in 10 years.
As the costs of housing and basic needs continue to rise in King County, many families must make difficult financial decisions that result in a struggle to afford healthy, nutritious food. King County and partners continue to support incentive programs that assist people who are food insecure to acquire the healthy produce they both want and need, and to support our local food economy.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal nutrition program that provides monetary benefits that can be used to purchase food. SNAP benefits are provided on a plastic card called an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card and can be used at retail stores, farmers markets, and farm stands that accept EBT.
SNAP Market Match is a Washington State program that increases the spending power of SNAP/EBT recipients by matching SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables at participating locations, including farmers markets, grocery stores, farm stands, and other retailers.
The Fresh Bucks program provides vouchers to City of Seattle residents who are food insecure to buy produce at farmers markets, farm stands, and participating grocery stores. This program is funded by the City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Tax.
The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to senior and WIC participants. The Senior FMNP is a federal assistance program designed to provide low-income seniors with access to local fruits and vegetables. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal assistance program supplemented by Washington State for the healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under the age of five. Eligible senior and WIC participants are issued FMNP coupons, which can be used to buy eligible foods from farmers, farmers markets or roadside stands.
Rating: Meeting Target
Incentives redeemed at farmers markets
Target: Increase the number of King County farmers markets with nutrition incentive programs for SNAP recipients and the total dollars redeemed, with emphasis on South King County.
Food donated by farmers markets and vendors
Note: Food banks and meal programs provide food to low-income and food insecure individuals. These programs receive a large percentage of food via donations, much of which is canned and packaged foods or with a limited shelf life. Food banks, farmers, farmers markets, and non-profits have found creative ways to increase the selection of locally grown, fresh produce at food banks. For example, many farmers markets partner with food banks to collect unsold produce at the end of the market day.