Nutrition Assistance

YOU CAN USE FEDERAL FOOD ASSISTANCE BENEFITS AT OUR FARMERS’ MARKETS

We want everyone in our communities to be able to afford fresh, healthy, locally grown food. We offer 7 programs that help low-income people buy healthy foods in our markets. The farmers and  producers at our farmers’ markets accept all forms of federal nutrition assistance benefits, including  SNAP (Food Stamps/EBT), WIC,  WIC Cash Value, Senior Grocery Plus (formerly Commodity Supplemental Food Program), Produce Plus vouchers, and FVRx (now called Produce Prescription). We also offer Bonus Bucks, which stretch the buying power of your nutrition benefits for fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese and eggs.  Together these programs make the market welcoming to all our neighbors.

Do you qualify for nutrition assistance benefits? Find out here.

Food Stamps/EBT/SNAP

More than 140,000 District residents benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) each month. With SNAP, shoppers can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, cheese, eggs, at grocery stores, corner stores, and even farmers’ markets. Many farmers’ markets in the District – including 14&U and Bloomingdale Farmers’ Markets – accept SNAP EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards. Does your grocery store offer bonus bucks when you use your food stamps? Our farmers’ markets do. Learn more here.

How it works:

  1. Go to the Market Information Tent.
  2. Tell the staff how much money you would like to spend.
  3. Market staff will swipe your EBT card for the amount you request.
  4. Receive the requested amount in $1 tokens to spend on food at our farmers’ markets.

Things to keep in mind:

  • You may not use SNAP/EBT tokens to buy flowers, hot prepared foods or other non-food items.
  • No change can be given when SNAP/EBT tokens are used.
  • Unused tokens can be used another day at BFM or 14&U.

To see if you qualify for SNAP/Food Stamps, contact the District of Columbia Department of Human Services at 202-698-3900 or download the Application for Benefits.

WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition (WIC “Get Fresh” and WIC Fruit and Vegetable Cash-Value Checks)

The Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is for children up to age 5 and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  Each eligible family member gets $30 in “Get Fresh” Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks to be used at farmers’ markets throughout the District. The purple WIC Cash-Value Checks for fruits and vegetables (these come in denominations of $8, $11, and $16.50)  can also be used at farmers’ markets. For more information on WIC, please consult DC’s Dept of Health website.

How it works:

  1. Bring WIC vouchers to the market (check expiration dates!)
  2. Use the voucher to pay farmers directly for fruits and vegetables.

Senior Grocery Plus

District residents age 60 and over can be eligible for the Senior Grocery Plus benefits if they are enrolled in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which provides food packages to seniors. The Senior Grocery Plus program provides $30 (in the form of six $5 checks) “Get Fresh” checks that can be used to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at some farmers’ markets, including both of ours. For more information, please contact the Department of Aging’s Information, Referral, and Assistance at 202-724-5626.

How it works:

  1. Bring vouchers to the market (check expiration dates!)
  2. Use the voucher to pay farmers directly for fruits and vegetables.

For more information about WIC “Get Fresh” and WIC Vegetable and Fruit Cash-Value Checks, contact the DC Community Health Administration/WIC State Agency at 202-442-9397.

Produce Plus (for DC residents only)

Produce Plus is a farmers market nutrition incentive program designed by The Department of Health to connect DC residents with healthy food.

How it works:

  • The program begins on June 1, 2017.
  • The benefit is distributed in the form of two $5 checks at participating farmers’ markets.
  • These $5 checks — up to $10 twice per week — can be redeemed for fruits and vegetables with any participating farmer.
  • Beneficiaries are eligible to receive the checks once per market week, on a first come first served basis.
  • No change is given, so each $5 check must be spent at a single farmstand.
  • We will distribute checks until the Produce Plus funds run out.
  • The program ends on Sept 30, 2017.

Eligible shoppers must be DC residents and a participant in ANY of the following programs:

  1. MEDICAID
  2. Medicare QMB
  3. SNAP (Food Stamps/EBT)
  4. Senior Grocery Plus
  5. WIC (Women/Infants/Children food assistance)
  6. SSI Disability
  7. TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/cash assistance)

Participants must show our market staff proof of participation in any one of these programs (for example: DC photo ID + EBT card, DC Medicaid card, or WIC  or Senior checks). It is not necessary to  spend any of your benefits to be eligible.

For more information on Produce Plus, please call the DC Community Health Administration/WIC State Agency at 202-442-9397.

FVRx

14&U and Bloomingdale Farmers Markets have been involved in the FVRx program since its inception in DC.  In 2012, DC Greens launched a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program in collaboration with Unity Health Care and Wholesome Wave. Since then, more than 200 at-risk DC residents have received prescriptions from their doctors for free farmers’ market produce. The program aims to improve health outcomes among overweight and obese children and families by increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. Both 14&U and Bloomingdale Farmers Markets are among the 5 founding DC “farmacies.”

How it works:

Doctors write “prescriptions” that participants can redeem  for fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets or “farmacies.” With close tracking on both the health center and market side, the Prescription Program provides essential data on the value of nutrition-based health interventions. Patients’ redemption rates and health metrics are carefully tracked by doctors and Wholesome Wave will analyze the aggregated data collected from their 11 partner sites nationwide.

We view the FVRx Program as a direct descendant of Dr. Jack Geiger’s revolutionary work in the Mississippi Delta in the mid-60s when he started prescribing food to patients experiencing malnutrition.  In the same way, we are trying to address root causes of the current health crisis, and we’re enlisting the help of our local farmers, who will surely be the healers of this generation.

Still have questions about using food assistance benefits at our markets? Stop by the market’s information table and learn more.