Just Harvest is working to end hunger by expanding access to nutritious food. Our Fresh Access program enables shoppers to use their food stamps – as well as credit and debit cards – to buy fresh, healthy, and locally-grown food at participating farmers markets.
At Just Harvest’s red market tent, food stamp recipients can swipe their ACCESS electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards and receive tokens that can be used to purchase a variety of fresh produce, baked goods, meat and dairy products. Those who use the token kiosk for credit and debit card purchases will be asked to contribute $1 per transaction to defray costs of the program. Tokens are accepted by dozens of vendors and the list is always growing.
Just Harvest, along with Pittsburgh Citiparks and participating local farmers, launched Fresh Access in May 2013 at the East Liberty and North Side farmers markets. The program expanded that August to four other Pittsburgh Citiparks market locations in Beechview, Bloomfield, Carrick, and the South Side. By the end of the 2013 season, total sales topped $42,000, benefiting local farmers and communities. Nearly half (46.2%) of the transactions were for EBT/food stamps.
|How’s It Working?|
96% of EBT shoppers rated the Fresh Access program as “Important” or “Very Important” for purchasing fruits and vegetables
95% of EBT shoppers rated the Fresh Access program as “Important” or “Very Important” in their decision to shop at farmers markets
80% of EBT shoppers said their produce consumption has increased as a result of the Fresh Access program
99% of EBT shoppers found the program easy to use
Figures based on a survey of 122 Fresh Access customers in early 2014
As of the 2014 market season, Fresh Access now operates at a seventh Pittsburgh Citiparks market (in Squirrel Hill) as well as at two other neighborhood markets through partnerships with the Borough of Swissvale and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership - for a total of 9 participating farmers markets. We also helped establish EBT programs at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market and the Bloomfield Development Corporation’s Saturday Market (see all 11 market locations and hours in the chart in the right sidebar).
The Fresh Access program is a coordinated effort with the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, the City of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture, and local farmers and vendors.