Increasing fresh food access for low income households at the Bradenton Farmers’ Market by offering Fresh Access Bucks (FAB), a USDA-funded nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP spending on Florida-grown fruits and vegetables up to $40.
Since 2015, families and individuals in the SNAP program can use this form of payment at the Bradenton Public Market. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, provides eligible households like low-income families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities financial assistance to purchase food.
Thanks to a USDA-funded nutrition incentive program, the Bradenton Public Market is able to offer “Fresh Access Bucks” (FAB), which doubles the spending power of Market patrons paying with SNAP. This increases fresh food access for low income households because every $1 they spend on Florida-grown fruits and vegetables is matched up to $40.
Together these nutrition incentive programs help low-income and food-insecure households increase their fresh food buying power by providing a $1:$1 match for SNAP shoppers to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at farm direct outlets. The Bradenton Public Market is one of only 2 markets between St. Pete and Englewood to offer SNAP+FAB options for shoppers.
Prior to the pandemic in 2019, as many as 3.1 Million Floridians lacked access to healthy food, of which 25% (800,000) are children (a number that has gone up significantly since then). Among food insecure households, 84% report buying the cheapest food instead of healthy food in order to provide enough to eat.
With investment from the multiple donors, Realize Bradenton is doing extensive outreach in those neighborhoods closest to downtown. For more information on this initiative, see “Healthy Together.”
SNAP at the Market has been made possible through generous supporters at events like Long Table at the Station as well as partners like Mosaic. Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) is a USDA-funded nutrition incentive program in Florida.
“We have a customer who had a baby during the pandemic. The baby was suffering from digestive issues and was not able to eat commercial baby foods. Her mother used all the SNAP purchased AND her FAB incentives to buy fresh veggies that she used to make her own baby foods. The child is doing well and her mom is planning to start her own baby food business.”~ Peg Haynes, former Market Manager and Initiative Consultant