Stretch SNAP Benefits at Oregon Farmers Markets

Celia Meredith & Etta O’Donnell-King

Fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the wonderful things about summer. There is nothing like fresh, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes or ripe, tart strawberries. Buying locally grown summer crops may seem out of reach for many SNAP recipients, but it does not have to feel like a luxury. As summer approaches, local farmers’ markets across Oregon are opening and, with that, are making the connection between producers and patrons more accessible.

Farmers’ markets do more than just offer fresh, delicious and locally-grown food. They seek to provide a fun and welcoming environment, open to all, and at many markets, a variety of live entertainment.

Many Oregon farmers’ markets understand that to create a space for the whole community, they must make markets welcoming for people of all income levels. To achieve this, most farmers’ markets are equipped to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP helps participants stretch their food budget, and many farmers’ markets can help participants stretch their budget even more.

While a majority of Oregon farmers’ markets accept SNAP benefits, many also offer matching programs, which match SNAP benefits dollar for dollar up to a certain amount—allowing SNAP participants to purchase up to double the amount of eligible food without going over budget.

This year, 45 Oregon farmers’ markets are partnering with Double Up Food Bucks, a SNAP matching program that works with participating farmers’ markets to match SNAP benefits up to $10, allowing SNAP participants to to purchase more locally grown fruits, vegetable, nuts and vegetable starts at these markets.

In addition to the markets participating in Double Up Food Bucks, other farmers’ markets in Oregon offer SNAP matching programs funded by their local communities. The dollar amount matched at these markets varies, but most of them offer SNAP match to purchase local fruits and vegetables.

With these resources, those strawberries no longer seem out of reach but are an affordable and nutritious option.

If you are a SNAP participant looking to expand your food dollars, find a market near you offering SNAP match.