Recipients of CalFresh assistance can use their benefits to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at many local farmers’ markets thanks to Alchemist CDC! This program increases equitable access at farmers’ markets by setting up booths which run an EBT machine and scrip system, so CalFresh recipients can use their benefits to buy fresh, healthy, local produce. CalFresh (previously known as Food Stamps) provides qualifying lower income individuals financial assistance in purchasing food for themselves and their families. In addition, Alchemist CDC distributes nutrition information and healthy recipes and develops multi-lingual promotions to encourage consumption of fresh, local produce and foster better eating habits among local CalFresh users. This program also adds to local farmers’ direct sales and stimulates attendance at farmers’ markets, enhancing the local economy.
Alchemist CDC, along with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Grace Presbyterian Church and our wonderful volunteers and interns, facilitate CalFresh processing at 13 Certified Farmers’ Markets in Sacramento.
To see an interactive map of markets that accept CalFresh, and those that participate in Market Match, click here.
Click here to download our CalFresh-friendly Farmers’ Market Flyer.
By providing the ability to use CalFresh at these markets, Alchemist hopes to make fresh produce more accessible to low-income individuals in these areas, while simultaneously increasing the sales for small-midsize farmers in California. This effort is in keeping with Alchemist CDC’s vision of a vibrant, equitable and diverse Sacramento. Farmers’ markets are an asset to communities, and can lead to improved health for area residents. By making it easier for low-income populations to purchase food at farmers’ markets, implementation of CalFresh acceptance makes these community assets more equitable and accessible to all individuals.
CalFresh Facts and Figures:
Sacramento County was recently ranked 4th out of California’s 58 counties in terms of the highest CalFresh utilization relative to the number of low-income individuals who meet the eligibility criteria. Alchemist CDC is playing a large role in this high ranking. In 2016, Alchemists CDC saw over $200,000 CalFresh dollars spent at our markets alone! As you can see from the chart below, CalFresh spending trended up for much of the year:
The government estimates that every dollar of CalFresh money spent in our region generates $1.79 in total community spending. Therefore, in 2016, Alchemist CDC generated over $350,000 in extra local economic activity for the Sacramento region!