FAQ

Get all your question answered on our Frequently Asked Questions page!

Click Market Operators & Community Partners, Customers, or Funders to see FAQ specific to those groups. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact us for more information.

Market Operators and Community Partners

What is Market Match?

Market Match is a program that provides a monetary incentive to customers who spend their CalFresh EBT card benefits (food stamps) at the farmers’ market. When a customer spends his/her CalFresh EBT at the market he/she receive EBT scrip, typically in the form of tokens or vouchers to spend on food in the market. (To learn more about the EBT process at farmers’ markets, click here.) At the same time, the customer’s benefit is “matched” and he/she receives additional Market Match funds, also in the form of tokens or vouchers, to be spent only on fruits and vegetables at the market. For more on the process, see here.

How would it work at my market and what would I need to do?

First, your market needs to be authorized to accept SNAP, aka CalFresh EBT benefits. (We can help with that process too. Click here for more details.) Then, the Ecology Center will help to train you and your market staff on administering MM and provide tracking, reporting, and promotional tools for you to use at your market. Market Match is offered at the set rate of $1 of Market Match for $1 of CalFresh, up to a set maximum depending on your annual MM budget (most typically $10 per person per market day.) Your market would be responsible for tracking the amount of Market Match in and out each day and reporting the cumulative totals to the Ecology Center through our monthly required reporting form.You would also be part of the California Market Match Consortium (CMMC), the statewide learning community that offers MM at their markets.

What is the CMMC and what would it mean to be part of it?

The CMMC is the community of practice and braintrust for the Market Match program. Many of the members have been offering Market Match since 2010 or earlier, when the program began. Convened by the Ecology Center, this diverse group of market operators and community based organizations meets regularly by phone, and in person, at least once per year to exchange best practices, discuss program direction, and train and onboard new markets and staff. Being a CMMC member is a unique opportunity to tap a community of markets who have already “created the wheel” so that you don’t have to recreate it with your market’s Market Match program.

Who runs Market Match?

Market Match is a highly collaborative program. While the program is housed under the Ecology Center’s roof, each Market Match Consortium partner runs Market Match at their own market and many community organizations and agencies help to fund and promote the program. Sometimes the Market Match partner is a market operator and sometimes the Market Match partner is a regional, community-based organization that works with the markets in their city, county, or region to offer Market Match. Many program decisions are made by the CMMC during calls and in-person meetings.

What if I want to do something different with my Market Match program?

There are a few program requirements for every farmers’ market that offers Market Match. (See Requirements FAQ below.) However, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all. For instance, working with the Ecology Center, you might choose to also match Women, Infant and Children (WIC) benefits in addition to CalFresh benefits. Ecology Center staff can work with your market, organization, or county to tailor Market Match to your community’s needs. Plus, the CMMC is an amazing resource to learn what has worked in other communities like yours across the state!

How will Market Match benefit my market?

Market Match has lots of impacts. Market Match typically increases overall CalFresh EBT sales and creates a new customer base. Current CMMC members reported between a 300-700% increase in their CalFresh EBT sales as a result of the Market Match program. Farmers tend to really like it because it adds to their overall take-home revenue and creates new shoppers.

Can’t I just double customers’ CalFresh EBT and call it Market Match?

One of the unique elements of Market Match is that the scrip is good only for fruits and vegetables. This allows us to demonstrate to funders and decision-makers that we are having real impacts on customers’ consumption of healthy foods and the income of small and mid-sized farmers.

What are the requirements to participate in the Market Match program?

Currently, Market Match is only offered at direct marketing outlets — meaning farmers’ markets, CSAs, and farm stands. That way we know the funds affect not only the customer, but the small and mid-sized farmers too! Read more about the benefits of direct marketing here. Whether you are a farmers’ market manager, or a farmer, you must be authorized to accept SNAP/CalFresh/EBT cards.
If you aren’t a direct marketing outlet, like a farmers’ market, get in touch with us.

Will you fund Market Match at my market?

The California Department of Food and Agriculture through their California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP), submitted a large proposal to the federal Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program, including funding for California Market Match. This funding will help expand Market Match to additional markets in 2017 and 2018.

The Ecology Center will bring on 3-10 new partners to offer Market Match incentives at farmers’ market sites in 2018. Stay tuned for more info – applications will likely be posted in late December 2017. If you’d like to see last year’s application information to get a general sense of what the application process will look like, click here for more information.


Great, I’m convinced! Where do I sign up?

If you are interested in joining our network and bringing Market Match to your region, association, or market get more information on our New Partner page. Please note: this page currently contains application instructions from 2017. We’ll be updating the page with instructions for 2018 shortly!

Customers

What is Market Match?

Market Match is an incentive program that doubles your food dollars at participating farmers’ markets so you can eat even more fruits and vegetables. When you spend your Calfresh benefits at the farmers’ market, your beneft is matched, dollar-for-dollar. Most markets have restrictions around the maximum amount of match per day, so check with your local market for details. Visit the Farmers’ Market Finder here to find a participating market near you.

How do I find a market that offers Market Match incentives?

Use our Farmers’ Market Finder, which is an online, mobile compatible site that allows you to enter your location and find the markets closest to you that accept CalFresh and offer a Market Match. Visit FMFinder.org.

What can I buy with Market Match?

Market Match is good for fruits and vegetables only. You can still spend your CalFresh on any eligible food at the market.

How can I help spread the word about Market Match?

Thank you! There are a lot of ways you can get involved with the Market Match program. Ask at your market’s information booth if they need volunteers. Or contact us to provide a testimony, a quote, or to become a Healthy Eating Spokesperson!

Funders

What is Market Match?

Market Match is California’s SNAP (CalFresh) healthy food incentive program.

When people use their SNAP/CalFresh benefits at farmers’ markets, Market Match provides matching funds so that they can buy even more fruits and vegetables. For example, a shopper who wishes to spend $10 of CalFresh benefits at the farmers’ markets gets an extra $10 to spend on fresh produce.

Market Match empowers low-income shoppers to make healthy food choices by overcoming financial barriers. It supports job creation, local economic development, and civic engagement by leveraging the benefits of farmers markets for a broader community. Further, Market Match helps stabilize and support rural communities by providing an additional income for small farmers selling at farmers’ markets.


What are the impacts of Market Match?

Click here to see some of the Market Match program’s impacts.

How can I best support Market Match?

Thank you for your interest! The Market Match program is actively seeking partnerships with funders. Take a peek at our downloadable program brief, donate, or contact us for more information.