Farmer’s markets are often perceived as having sky-high prices, but with governmental programs that offer “bonus dollars,” the farmers markets are more affordable than ever. Two programs that offer FREE money towards your purchase of fruits and vegetables are the Produce Plus Program and the Matching Dollars Benefit Program.
The Produce Plus Program, starting June 1st, allows D.C. eligible residents with federal benefits to receive 2 (two) $5.00 checks once per household per market day to spend on fresh fruit and vegetables at participating farmers markets throughout the district.
Eligible shoppers must be a DC resident and participate in any of the following programs: Medicaid, SNAP (Food Stamps/EBT), Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), Women/Infants/Children food assistance (WIC), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/cash assistance (TANF).
How to receive Produce Plus Program benefits:
- Find the information booth at your neighborhood farmers’ market.
- Present a valid District photo identification and proof of participation in any one of the benefits program ID, SNAP, WIC, CSFP, SSI, TANF, Medicaid Insurance card, and DC. Examples of proof of participation include: EBT card, Medicaid card, or WIC or Senior FMNP checks.
- Sign your name on the register.
- Shop for your favorite fruits and vegetables.
- Tell the farmer you are paying with the Produce Plus Program check.
- Sign the check and give it to the farmer.
- No change will be given and these produce plus checks cannot be matched with the Matching Dollars program. Please see who is eligible to participate in the Matching Dollars program below.
- All checks expire September 30. You may use the checks any time before the expiration date.
In addition to the Produce Plus program, participating farmers markets also offer a Matching Dollar incentive program in an effort to reduce economic barriers and increase access to healthy foods. The Matching Dollar Program is only for customers with SNAP/EBT (food stamps), Women/Children/Infants (WIC), and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SDMNP).
How to receive the Matching Dollars Benefits with SNAP/EBT only:
- If you are using SNAP/EBT, go to the information tent and tell the staff how much of your benefits you would like to spend.
- Market staff will match your redemption with FREE matching wooden tokens that are to be used at that specific farmers’ market. Tokens do not expire.
How to receive the Matching Dollars Benefits with WIC or Senior FMNP only:
- If you are using WIC or Senior FMNP checks, you need to spend the checks with authorized farmers. Please ask the staff at the market information to direct you to the farmers that will accept WIC and Senior FMNP.
- After your transaction, the farmer will give you a receipt.
- Take this receipt to the market information tent to redeem your free matching dollars wooden tokens.