EBT/CalFresh, WIC & Senior Nutrition Coupons

All SCCFM markets accept EBT, WIC and Senior Nutrition Coupons. Locate the information booth and a market manager can process your EBT card and give you tokens to use at the farmers’ markets. Tokens have a value of $1 and there is no change given.  EBT stands for Electronic Benefit Transfer and is the method for distributing CalFresh benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps and currently known federally as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits), California Food Assistance Program benefits, and cash aid benefits.

Market Match

Market Match is UNDER THREAT! Market Match is funded through the end of 2024 but it’s future is in limbo. In January of 2024, under pressure from the California budget deficit, Governor Newsom proposed cutting $33.2 million from the 2025-2027 budget that funds Market Match through the California Nutrition Incentive Program. This would be devastating. Please learn more and get involved in the campaign to make sure Market Match remains funded HERE.

Currently Market Match has been elevated to 15 for 15 at all five of the SCCFM markets month-to-month through 2024. We continue to apply for additional funding to increase the match as much and as often as possible. Stay posted on Instagram @santacruzfarmersmkts or join our newsletter on our homepage for the most up-to-date information. Onsite CalFresh application assistance will be available in rotation at the Downtown SC Market.

Standard Market Match: Year-round the Market Match (MM) Program offers farmers’ market customers with CalFresh (EBT/SNAP) cards a dollar-for-dollar match up to ten dollars. The standard match is generally dollar-for-dollar up to $10. For example, if a CalFresh customer swipes their card for $10 they receive 1o additional dollars in Market Match script at no charge. A $7 swipe equals a $7 match. A $20 swipe equals a $10 match as the match maxes out at $10. Currently there is a special at all of our markets for larger matching amounts through the 2023 season. These matching dollars can be used to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits only.

The goal of this project is to encourage CalFresh (EBT/SNAP) recipients to take advantage of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. By offering an incentive that makes fresh produce more accessible, we are helping shoppers stretch their food dollars while keeping their families healthy. Market Match is a program of the Ecology Center and is funded in part through the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. With additional grants and sponsorships from groups including the City of Santa Cruz and Kaiser Permanente we are able to increase the match for periods of time at specific markets.

SCCFM is always looking for additional funds to extend this special offering.        

History of the Market Match Program

The Market Match program is managed statewide by Roots of Change. In addition to SCCFM, ten other Market Match partners — known collectively as the California Farmers’ Market Consortium – are working to increase access to fresh and healthy foods for low-income consumers at local farmers’ markets. All of the Market Match partners are dedicated to increasing the incomes of California farmers by expanding access for low-income communities. This program stimulates the local food economy while supporting community health and food security.

The Market Match program is made possible through two general funding sources, a Specialty Crop Block Grant offered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and philanthropic efforts that raise funds for Market Match incentive dollars. SCCFM has also pledged funding which has boosted support for the Market Match program at various markets. Additional supporters in past years have included the City and County of Santa Cruz, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Kaiser Permanente Foundation.

Beginning in June of 2020 the City of Santa Cruz began sponsoring an ongoing Double Match at the Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers’ Market with a federal grant related to COVID-19 and essential services. This grant funded the Market Match Double Program at this market only through June of 2023, over three years. While funding through the City has ended at this point we are incredibly grateful for their contributions and are looking for alternative grants/sponsorship to restart the program.

Senior Vouchers

All 2023 Senior Vouchers have been distributed. We hope to help distribute these funds at our markets again in 2024 and are generally informed about the program distribution dates by June or July each year.

The Senior Voucher Program provides seniors who qualify (based on age and income) with a booklet of $50 in vouchers. The vouchers can be used to purchase fresh vegetables and fruit at the farmers’ markets. You can direct questions to the Senior Council at (831) 688-0400.

We encourage seniors who are eligible to access our EBT/Market Match programs as well, which are offered at all five of our markets at all times. Market Match ranges from $10-$20 when customer retrieve EBT funds. It varies depending on the market.