For the month of July and maybe longer, your EBT food purchases will get you double the amount of fresh food.
The Food Trust, a non-profit that runs farmer’s markets throughout the city, is running the Food Bucks program. During July, for every two dollars you spend on your EBT card at participating markets, you earn two dollars in Food Bucks. “Spend $2, Earn $2” is part of the Food Trust’s COVID-19 response.
Gwen Ockenlaender, the Food Bucks project coordinator, explained that people paying with SNAP at partner sites will earn coupons for free fruit and vegetables. Partner sites include farmer’s markets, some corner stores, and Fresh Grocer supermarkets. Food Bucks are accepted at all Food Trust farmers’ markets throughout the city. In Northwest Philadelphia they’re accepted at Germantown Kitchen Garden and the Henry’s Got Crops Market.
Ockenlaender said there’s also a Food Bucks program at Fresh Grocer Supermarkets (for Germantown, the closest location is Fresh Grocer at LaSalle at 5301 Chew Avenue). When you use your EBT card on fresh produce and scan your Price Plus card, a coupon will be printed at the register. These coupons can only be used at Fresh Grocer locations. They can’t be used at farmer’s markets.
Amanda Staples, owner of Germantown Kitchen Garden, heard about the Food Bucks program and reached out to the Food Trust.
“I wanted to offer it because as a farmer, my prices aren’t as low as a supermarket or a Save-a-Lot,” said Staples. “I’m trying to bridge the gap between affordable food and a living wage for a farmer, which can’t be bridged without government intervention right now.”
Germantown resident Calli Blau uses the Food Bucks at both the Germantown Kitchen Garden and the Henry’s Got Crops market. “I think it’s really helpful because when you run out of food stamps then you have the back up.” She continued, “It allows me to get good produce, like organic things that would normally be out of budget”.
Ockenlaender says the Food Trust hopes the “Spend $2, Earn $2” model will continue through the entire growing season. They’re making decisions month by month, depending on the budget. Ockenlaender encourages shoppers to check the Food Trust’s website for updates on the program.