Fresh Checks

Fresh Checks is an innovative program run by Collective Roots to increase access to healthy, local, affordable produce for families in East Palo Alto. The program incentivizes participants to spend their food stamps and other federal benefits on healthy produce at the East Palo Alto Community Farmers Market.

The way it works:

Anyone with a qualifying income (equivalent to the federal income standards for food stamps) can sign up for Fresh Checks. Once registered, we’ll match up to $20 each month for every dollar a Fresh Checks participant spends at the market. Participants can receive their match benefits using any form of payment–cash, food stamps, or WIC or Senior farmers market checks. With the Fresh Checks match, qualifying individuals are able to take home $40 of fresh fruits and vegetables at the market by spending only $20. What a deal!

The impact:

Fresh Checks is in its fifth season of operation with the East Palo Alto Community Farmers Market. In its first three seasons, the Fresh Checks program ensured that over $55,000 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables reached low-income households throughout East Palo Alto. In 2012, we have over 800 eligible participants registered in the Fresh Checks program, with over 75% reporting that the Fresh Checks program is “Very Important” in encouraging them to spend their food stamps or income at the Farmers Market as opposed to at another food vendor in the community. In the last two years, 77% of regular Fresh Checks participants reported that their fresh fruit and vegetable intake has increased some or increased greatly as a result of shopping at the East Palo Alto Community Farmers Market.

Thanks to Fresh Checks, more and more residents in our community are finding it possible to purchase organic, sustainably produced, healthy fresh fruits and vegetables, making healthy lifestyle choices affordable in East Palo Alto!

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