Market Match is an incentive program that encourages those enrolled in the CalFresh food assistance program to improve their diets by eating more fruits and vegetables. Market Match provides vouchers for free fruits and vegetables to CalFresh recipients when they spend their CalFresh benefits at a participating farmers’ market.
Fresh Approach has offered Market Match-style incentives since 2009 in partnership with the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA). Fresh Approach is a member of the statewide California Market Match Consortium (CMMC), a group of nonprofit organizations and farmers’ market operators that all offer similar healthy food incentive programs under the Market Match banner.
In 2013, the CMMC commissioned a report to record the development of the Market Match program and assess its impact. That report, “SNAPing up Benefits for Farmers and Shoppers,” finds that In 2012, California farmers in CMMC farmers’ markets had EBT sales of nearly $880,000 a 43%, increase from 2011 revenue 171% increase from the pilot year in 2009.
The return on investment (ROI) for PCFMA and the other CMMC partners has been incredible as the availability of the Market Match incentives spurred additional CalFresh spending. PCFMA saw an ROI of 369% on an investment of $69,500. The ROI for other CMMC partners ranged from 132% for the Agricultural Institute of Marin on an investment of $32,300 to an ROI of 717% for ALBA (Agricultural and Land-Based Training Association) on an investment of $6,761.
The Market Match program has provided support to more than 840 California farmers and more than 37,000 customers. While most of these customers were enrolled in the state of California’s CalFresh program, the ingenuity of CMMC’s partners also allowed Market Match to benefit those receiving Supplemental Security Income, WIC or other federal benefits.