Impact

Market Match is a triple-win: for low-income shoppers, small and mid-sized farmers, and California’s rural communities. The Ecology Center worked with the University of Southern California to conduct an evaluation of the impact of the FINI Grant on its Market Match program between 2015-2017. Learn more about how Market Match benefits shoppers, farmers, farmers’ markets, and surrounding communities.

LOW-INCOME SHOPPERS

Market Match enables healthy food choices for low-income shoppers. 73% of customers surveyed reported that they were able to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables they were buying each week. 85% reported that they were buying different kinds of fruits and vegetables, and 71% said that their family’s health improved as a result of Market Match.

SMALL & MID-SIZED FARMS

Market Match supports California’s small and mid-sized farmers, including some of the most innovative and diverse farm operations. 84% of farmers participating in the program report selling more fruits and vegetables, and 37% report expanding their operations with new hires, equipment, acreage, and crops.

CALIFORNIA RURAL COMMUNITIES

Incentives work for California’s rural communities. Market Match supports participants in purchasing healthy foods, and also puts money into the pockets of California’ small- and mid-sized farmers. According to USDA, every $1 of SNAP spending generates up to $1.79 of additional economic activity. That means that in 2017, Market Match created $7.9 million in economic activity, aiding some of California’s most economically disadvantaged communities.

POLICY EFFORTS

The Ecology Center and many of our national counterparts played a central role in convincing legislators to approve new federal funding in the 2014 Farm Bill for healthy food incentive programs. Between 2015-2017, USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program awarded grants to 90 organizations totaling over $65.1 million to support incentive programs like Market Match around the nation. This is the result of years of the Ecology Center and the California Market Match Consortium’s legislative efforts to include this funding in the Federal Farm Bill.

In 2015, the Ecology Center, the California Market Match Consortium (CMMC), Roots of Change, and other statewide partners were successful in advocating for the passage of CA Assembly Bill 1321, a bill that created a state matching grant program that could capture Federal FINI funds, build the State Farm-to-Fork office, and stimulate California’s small farming communities. In June of 2016, the state approved $5 million in state funds to fund this state grant program, and expand on incentive programs like Market Match.

In 2017, the California Department of Food and Agriculture was awarded a $3.9 million FINI grant- the largest of its kind in the nation.

In 2019, the California Department of Food and Agriculture received a $7.1 million grant from the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP – formerly FINI). Combined with matching state funds, this funding will allow Market Match to expand to additional high need areas throughout the state. Ecology Center joined the Nutrition Incentive Hub, a center established by the 2018 Farm Bill to provide training, technical assistance, reporting and evaluation support to GusNIP grantees.


REPORTS, STUDIES, OTHER RESOURCES

Learn more about the benefits of SNAP Healthy Food Incentive Programs through these resources:

Market Match Impact Report (2018) featuring evaluation conducted by University of Southern California researchers
Market Match CA FINI Preliminary Results (2016)
Technology for Farmers’ Market Incentive Delivery in California (2015) Code For America Report for the Ecology Center
Market Match Case Statement
SNAP Healthy Food Incentives Cluster Evaluation (2012-2013) by Evaluation Firm Community Science
SNAP Healthy Food Incentives Cluster Evaluation (2011) by Evaluation Firm Community Science