The Food Trust's Food Bucks Network
Encouraging healthy SNAP (food stamp) purchases
The Food Trust has worked to provide local residents with fresh, nutritious and affordable food in their own communities for over two decades. Nonetheless, many Pennsylvanians continue to struggle to provide their families with fresh fruits and vegetables. More than 580,000 households in Pennsylvania receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which can be used at many types of food retailers. The Food Trust seeks to motivate SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase fresh and affordable produce.
The Food Trust Solution
In 2010, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and The Food Trust launched the Philly Food Bucks program. This healthy food incentive program encourages SNAP (food stamp) recipients to use their benefits to purchase fresh, local ingredients at participating farmers markets throughout the city. Today, Food Bucks are available at farmers markets statewide.
For every $5 spent using SNAP at participating markets, customers receive a $2 Food Buck coupon for fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing the purchasing power of farmers market shoppers who use SNAP by 40%.
Since the introduction of Philly Food Bucks, SNAP sales at The Food Trust's farmers markets have increased by more than 375%. These additional revenue sources directly contribute to the sustainability of local agriculture by boosting the revenue of Pennsylvania farmers. The Philly Food Bucks program is available to all SNAP recipients and can be redeemed at The Food Trust's farmers markets and other sites that sell local fruits and vegetables across Philadelphia, as well as farmers markets participating in The Food Trust's Food Bucks Network in Pittsburgh, Reading, Norristown and Washington County.
With funding provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program and with the support of local partners, The Food Trust is working to expand the Food Bucks program into a statewide initiative with offerings in a variety of retail settings. This program aims to not only increase fresh produce purchases but also benefit local healthy food venues by increasing the demand for fruits and vegetables in lower-income neighborhoods.
The Food Trust has partnered with Burns’ Family Neighborhood Market Fresh Grocer at select locations where SNAP shoppers can earn $2 in Philly Food Bucks for every $5 they spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh Grocers participating in the program include stores at:
- 40th and Walnut streets
- 56th and Chestnut streets
- Progress Plaza
- Grays Ferry
- La Salle
SNAP shoppers can also earn Food Bucks at Fayer's Market in Camden as well as at Ross's Shop 'n Save in Centre Heldman Plaza in Pittsburgh.
The Food Trust is also collaborating with Olivares Food Market in South Philadelphia to introduce Philly Food Bucks to a corner store, where SNAP shoppers can earn $1 in Philly Food Bucks for every $2 they spend using SNAP. In Pittsburgh, SNAP shoppers can earn Food Bucks at Carl's Cafe in Rankin and Dylamato's Market in Hazelwood.
Community groups working in Philadelphia with SNAP-eligible populations can apply to distribute Food Bucks by filing out the Application for Community Distribution. Return by or fax, 215-575-0466.