As part of our efforts to fight hunger by expanding access to nutritious food, Just Harvest launched Fresh Access in May 2013, in conjunction with Pittsburgh Citiparks and participating local farmers. This program enables shoppers to use their food stamps via electronic benefit transfer (EBT) to purchase a variety of fresh produce, baked goods, meat and dairy products. Credit and debit cards are also now accepted.
Food stamp recipients can swipe their ACCESS/EBT cards and receive tokens that are accepted by many of the vendors and can be used to purchase food. 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.
The Fresh Access program began at the East Liberty and North Side farmers markets before expanding in August 2013 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.
We hope to see you at a Just Harvest kiosk soon!