3 Squares recipients get double value at some farmers’ markets

SOUTH BURLINGTON — There are currently over 83,000 Vermonters who receive 3SquaresVT benefits to help them buy more food for their families. Now when Vermonters use their 3SquaresVT benefits at the farmers’ market, they can double their money with “Crop Cash,” which allows them to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers. The program began June 27.
The system works like this: At the farmers’ market, Vermonters go to the booth displaying the “EBT and Debit Accepted Here” sign to swipe their EBT card. They say how much of their benefits they would like to spend and then swipe their card. They receive wooden tokens worth $1 each to use at any vendor that sells 3SquaresVT eligible foods. As a bonus for shopping at the market, they also receive Crop Cash, an orange bill in $1 increments, to match their EBT purchases, up to $10 per market day. Crop Cash can then be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the market.
The Crop Cash Incentive Program is a win-win for 3SquaresVT users, who are able to purchase more farm-fresh fruits and veggies, as well as for local farmers, who are able to market their products to more Vermonters. There are now over 45 farmers’ markets in Vermont that allow shoppers to use their 3SquaresVT benefits and double these benefits with Crop Cash. For a list of EBT markets, visit www.vermontfoodhelp.com or dial 2-1-1.
The Crop Cash Incentive Program is coordinated by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), with funding from the USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program and Wholesome Wave. Hunger Free Vermont does outreach to 3SquaresVT participants so they know they can use their benefits at markets and access Crop Cash.

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