Here at MCFM, we believe that shopping local should be financially accessible to everyone. This is why we accept CalFresh & offer Market Match, which will double your money and give you more buying power. Most of our farmers also accept WIC FMNP and Senior FMNP, as well!
CalFresh: You can use your EBT card at the market! Because the CalFresh card is government issued, the individual vendors can’t take it, so we use a coin exchange system instead. Bring your card to the information booth, let the market aides know you are there for EBT, and how much you would like to spend from your card.
Once you give them your card, they will swipe it through a machine, which will subtract the amount you wanted off of the card (minimum of $5.) The market aides will then give you green $1 coins to spend throughout the market. These coins never expire and you can spend them as you would your EBT card (so no hot foods, hot drinks, or alcohol.) If you find more goodies at the market and need more coins, you can always come back and withdraw extra! There is no maximum to how many EBT transactions you do per market, as long as you have the funds available on the card.
Along with CalFresh, MCFM is also part of a special grant program that helps you get more without spending more. This program, which is known as the Market Match Program, was designed to aid low income individuals in getting better access to fresh, local fruits and veggies.
When you withdraw $10 or more from your CalFresh card at the market, Market Match gives you an extra $10 in coins to spend. These coins are different than the ones you will receive for EBT. The Market Match coins are wooden, and are only able to be spent on fresh fruits and veggies. You can get Market Match once per market and the coins do not expire.
As anyone who is part of WIC (Women, Infants & Children) likely knows, the program is about to go through a major change in Stanislaus County in March 2020! The green paper WIC checks are going digital and will now be on a card! Because of this, the market will also be transitioning. Some of the produce vendors will likely elect to get the machine necessary to run the new WIC card, but we will keep everyone updated on that.
Good news though! The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) purple checks and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) blue checks are remaining paper. Most of the fruit and veggie vendors will continue to take these checks as they have in years past.
FMNP, for those unfamiliar with it, is a booklet of 4 $5 checks ($20), good for fresh fruits and veggies at a farmers market. You can get these checks if you currently get WIC. They are handed out at certain times of the year (including sometimes at the market) and are able to be spent May through November. For details on how and where to get these checks, please contact your local WIC office.
SFMNP is similar. They are 5 $4 checks ($20) for individuals 60 or older with an income of less than $1,872 per month for one person or $2,538 per month for two. You are allowed to get these checks once a year assuming the previously mentioned conditions are met. These checks are able to be spent May through November, and are good on fresh fruits, veggies, and honey. They are handed out at certain times and locations (including at the market) during the year. For information on how and where to get these checks, please contact the Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging.