What We Do: Philly Food Bucks
Encouraging 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 Philadelphia families continue to struggle to provide their families with fresh fruits and vegetables. While 31% of Philadelphia residents currently receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, usage of these benefits at farmers’ markets has lagged behind other retail establishments in recent years. The Food Trust seeks to motivate SNAP recipients 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.
For every $5 spent using SNAP at participating markets, customers receive a $2 Philly Food Bucks coupon for fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing the purchasing power of lower-income farmers’ market shoppers by 40%.
Since the introduction of Philly Food Bucks, SNAP sales at The Food Trust's farmers’ markets has 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.
Expanding Philly Food Bucks
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 Philly Food Bucks program into a statewide initiative with offerings in a variety of retail settings.
During spring of 2015, The Food Trust collaborated with Just Harvest in Pittsburgh, PA to bring Fresh Access Food Bucks to farmers’ markets in Allegheny County.
In Philadelphia, The Food Trust partnered with Burns’ Family Neighborhood Market Fresh Grocer at 56th and Chestnut streets to introduce Philly Food Bucks at a supermarket for the first time. The program plans to bring Philly Food Bucks to a corner store in 2016. The FINI grant also allows for the improvement of the current Food Bucks tracking system to a web-based platform allowing more streamlined tracking.