From now until November, while supplies last, for every $5 you spend with your EBT card at one of our Greenmarkets, you will receive a $2 Health Bucks coupon good for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables in the market.
The Health Bucks initiative was developed by the NYC Health Department District Public Health Offices and in 2013, GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets distributed over $260,000 worth of Health Bucks at 51 market locations. The increase of 40% in buying power can help increase a Food Stamp budget and encourage shoppers to spend more of their monthly Food Stamp allotment on fresh produce from the market. Overall, this innovative program helps GrowNYC/Greenmarket provide additional opportunities for shoppers to access fresh and affordable produce in NYC.
Ever wondered if you might qualify for EBT/Foodstamp benefits? There are over 500,000 people in New York City that qualify for EBT/Foodstamps but do not receive them. Several of our markets will be holding EBT screening sessions throughout the summer to help New Yorkers find out if they qualify for Foodstamps and provide them with resources on how to file for those benefits. Partners including The New York City Coalition Against Hunger, The Food Bank of New York City, and The Met Council will be on hand at Union Square Greenmarket through the end of August on Mondays and Fridays from 9 am to 2 pm and at other markets throughout the summer and fall. Visit your local market webpage to find out if they will be hosting an upcoming screening.
Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director of GrowNYC, welcomes Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and fellow anti-hunger advocates to Union Square.
On Monday, the Union Square Greenmarket hosted New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, as well as anti-hunger advocates including chef Tom Coliccio and Joel Berg, executive director of New York City Coalition Against Hunger. The Senator announced the introduction of her proposed amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, challenging the $4.5 billion in cuts to SNAP (Food Stamps) over the next ten years.
"This Farm Bill is much more than a set of esoteric numbers. It’s very much about the decisions we are making regarding economic growth, regarding our agriculture industries, and the moral obligation we have to our families that are at risk," said Senator Gillibrand. "Food stamps are an extraordinary investment because for every dollar that you put into the SNAP program, you get out $1.71. Under the current bill, families in New York will lose about $90 a month in their food stamps, which means in the third week of the month, many families’ children will go to school hungry. It also means less food on a kitchen table for children. I have very grave concerns about what that says about us, and what we’re going to do about it."
As Greenmarket shoppers know, Food Stamps are a critical component of GrowNYC's Greenmarket program. 90% of our markets accept EBT/Food Stamps, ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to healthy local food, and these dollars provide an important revenue source for Greenmarket farmers. Since 2007, Greenmarkets around the city have seen a steady increase in sales made at market with Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.
"Over the course of the last five years, GrowNYC's EBT initiative has resulted in $1.53 million in revenue to farmers, generating an estimated $2.8 million of regional economic activity according to the USDA," said Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director of GrowNYC. "The exponential growth of EBT dollars spent at our Greenmarkets since 2007 demonstrates an ever increasing demand from all New Yorkers for fresh, healthy food. By providing access to the freshest food available, the food stamp at farmers market program plays a major role in curbing diet related disease, and ensures a healthier lifestyle for all citizens while simultaneously supporting regional agriculture. The proposed cut to the food stamp program would mean a devastating loss to farmers, as well as the families who need this assistance the most."
Read the full press release from the event, and watch the video below of Senator Gillibrand as she introduced her amendment on the Senate floor yesterday.
Greenmarket's EBT/Food stamps program continues to expand exponentially, with figures for the first half of 2011 coming in 3.5 times higher than in 2010.
2009 Markets accepting EBT: 23 EBT total, January to June: $5,102
2010 Markets accepting EBT: 40 EBT total, January to June: $38,652
2011 Markets accepting EBT: 43 EBT total, January to June: $131,938
Thanks to continued support from Speaker Christine Quinn and the New York City Council, the number of Greenmarkets accepting EBT has risen steadily from 3 markets in 2005, to 23 markets in 2009, to the current 43 markets (including every Greenmarket in an outer borough) in 2011.
Greenmarket attributes a large part of the EBT program’s success to the NYC Department of Health's Health Bucks program. July through November, $2 Health Bucks are given out for every $5 an EBT customer spends at qualifying Greenmarkets market--representing a 40% boost in buying power.
Greenmarket's EBT program not only provides nutritious, local produce for all shoppers, it also makes a big impact on farmer revenues, providing 25-50% of farmer income in some cases.
Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo released A Transformational Plan for a New New York, a 31-page plan designed to "fundamentally transform New York State’s government and economy."
The plan included a section entitled Expand Fresh Food into Urban Centers: Urban Markets meets NY Produce, prominently featuring the Greenmarket program, our new Wholesale Greenmarket at the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market, and our extensive EBT/SNAP/WIC program at Greenmarkets.