Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Boston Bounty Bucks program supplements SNAP benefits in farmers' markets

On the NPR radio show Living on Earth last week, Friedman School alum Jessica Smith reported on the Boston Bounty Bucks program, which provides a financial incentive to food stamp (SNAP) participants for fruit and vegetable purchases in farmers' markets.  A highlight of the segment was the demonstration of how food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards work in farmers' markets.
The program has become a model for other cities. Farmers' markets around the country are starting to add EBT stations and a few other programs offer financial incentives. The goals are the same: to improve health and nutrition in traditionally underserved populations.
The Boston Globe in June wrote about this program, and the Food Project website provides more details and a list of sites where the benefits can be spent.


Anonymous said...
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The Gray Wolves said...

I did a simple analysis about farmers' markets a year or so back, using just two numbers: the total annual spending on food at farmers' markets and the total annual food budget for Americans. The number I came up with, representing the share farmers' markets contribute to the American food supply, was 0.16%.

While I personally love farmers' markets, I used this analysis to argue against placing high priority on programs or resources for farmers' markets because, even if we were wildly successful and doubled the volume at farmers' markets, that would bump the farmers' markets' contribution to 0.32% of the food supply, that is to say, indetectable. Naturally, no one listened to me.

Holding aside sustainability and economic development arguments, does my argument hold up? How about even if you add in sustainability and economic development? Should we be looking to farmer's markets to be a significant part of the solution?