Data from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services states that of the 267,000 people residing in Thurston County, 73,231 receive state-provided economic assistance services and of those, 50,712 receive Basic Food Assistance.
“While we cannot correlate which of those Thurston County residents are Market shoppers, data from a 2017 Rapid Market Assessment indicates that 83 percent of market shoppers found it to “very important” or “important” that low-income people have the ability to shop at Farmers Market with SNAP EBT or WIC/Senior FMNP. This data suggests a need to address food insecurity, and to address the gaps accessing nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income clients,” said Mary DiMatteo, Olympia Farmers Market Community Outreach Manager.
The Olympia Farmers Market accepts Washington State Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, Women Infant Child (WIC) checks and Senior Checks — distributed by the USDA’s Farmers Market Nutrition Program — to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and baked goods. Annually, the market generates over $30,000 in EBT sales from over 1,200 transactions and $45,000 (2015/2016) in sales generated by the Farmers Market Nutrition Program in the form of WIC & Senior vouchers.
In order to use EBT, the cardholder must first stop by the Market’s main office, located across from the stage. The office staff swipes the card and the cardholder receives tokens to use around the market.
Introducing the Market Match/Fresh Bucks Program
Now, thanks to a $30,000 grant from Washington State Department of Health, the Market will DOUBLE EBT spending power. For example, if a cardholder swipes a card for $10 worth of tokens, the market will take $10 off the EBT card and will give the cardholder an additional $10 in Fresh Bucks vouchers. That is double the amount of fresh, local, seasonal and delicious produce to enjoy.
“The Olympia Farmers Market is proud to be a part of this local food system work that addresses nutrition, local agricultural development and farmers market accessibility,” said DiMatteo.
WHAT — The Olympia Farmers Market EBT Match Program
WHEN —The Market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. until April 7, when it will be open Thursday through Sunday.
WHERE — 700 Capitol Way N
FOR MORE INFO —Visit www.olympiafarmersmarket.com/ebtwicseniors/, or contact Mary DiMatteo, Community Outreach Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 352-9096.