The Market Match program was founded in 2009 by Ecology Center’s partner, Roots of Change (ROC). The first primary funder was the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
The program began with just a handful of partners — market operators and community-based organizations spread out across the state. ROC asked these leaders to design the SNAP healthy food incentive program that best fit both their community needs and their organization’s capacity. This was the beginning of what is now a thriving community of practice: the California Market Match Consortium (CMMC).
In late 2012, Roots of Change partnered with Ecology Center to transition the program’s oversight, leadership, and convening of the CMMC. Ecology Center had been a Consortium member since 2011 and came to the table with 25 years experience operating farmers’ markets, over ten years assisting markets with establishing CalFresh EBT access, and providing leadership for the newly formed California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets.
In 2015, Ecology Center received one of the USDA’s first ever Gus Schumacher Nutrition Program (GusNIP) Grants (formerly the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program). In 2017, the California Nutrition Incentive Program was established by Assembly Bill 1321, authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting. Ecology Center, Roots of Change, and Latinos for a Healthy California co-sponsored the bill. Assembly Bill 1321 brought state general funds to statewide nutrition incentive programs, the largest being Market Match. In 2019, the California Nutrition Incentive Program received a grant from the GusNIP program.
Ecology Center’s goal is to continue to grow the Market Match program, working with partners and funders to bring Market Match to every region of the state.