The Good Food Bucks program is a key part of City Green’s operations, and supports our goals of equitable access to local food, supporting healthy communities, and establishing sustainable food systems. City Green has worked to provide nutrition incentives at farmers markets and farm stands since 2011 to make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable for families who use the SNAP program. Good Food Bucks is New Jersey’s only statewide SNAP nutrition incentive program.
Nutrition incentive programs incentivize the purchase of nutritious foods. The Good Food Bucks program specifically makes fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable for SNAP users. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, provides low-income families with benefits solely for purchasing food on New Jersey’s “Families First” EBT card that works like a debit card with a set amount of monthly benefits.
For every SNAP purchase for fruits and vegetables at a participating Good Food Bucks farmers market, farm stand, or grocery store, you are eligible to receive Good Food Bucks either as a discount or in the form of a redeemable token or coupon. The program doesn’t require any additional sign-up to access Good Food Bucks, as any person who uses SNAP is eligible for Good Food Bucks.
The Bucks of Good Food Bucks. You will typically see these at Good Food Bucks Farmers Markets, but stores or farm stands may use tokens, coupons, or a 50% off discount.
Good Food Bucks are available at specific farmers markets, farm stands, CSAs, and grocery stores throughout New Jersey. Markets have to opt-in to the program, and submit an application each year. Once enrolled in the program, City Green provides them funding and training to participate in Good Food Bucks at any of their retail locations. Good Food Bucks will be available at 35 partner sites throughout New Jersey in 2023, including the Shoprite of Newark, Montclair Farmers Market, Riverview Farmers Market, and Alstede Farms. These partners will operate across 15 separate counties and across 47 towns and cities. More information about where to find Good Food Bucks can be found on our website.
The history of the success of the Good Food Bucks Program
Good Food Bucks help everyone, from shoppers to farmers and stores to the broader community. Good Food Bucks help to bolster the food security and nutrition of SNAP shoppers by increasing access to affordable fruits and vegetables. Good Food Bucks help farmers and stores reach a new population that have limited food budgets, increasing their income and helping them stand out from other markets. The broader community benefits from Good Food Bucks as they make markets and stores more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environments for all to attend and partake in.
Nutrition incentive programs have been proven to support our economy and public health, and to help establish sustainable food systems. The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), which supports nutrition incentive programs like Good Food Bucks, found that between the years 2021 and 2022 nutrition incentives generated over $41 million in revenue for incentive partners nationwide. GusNIP also found that participation in nutrition incentive programs increased fruit and vegetable intake among program participants by as much as 16.3%, and that participants reported higher fruit and vegetable intake than the average adult. Participants were also 13% more likely to indicate their own health as very good when they were 6 months into a nutrition incentive program than those who were just starting. Nutrition incentives helped over 1,800 farms and farmers markets earn income between 2021 and 2022, with that number increasing each year, helping to support locally grown sustainable food systems.
Every person deserves affordable access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally relevant food. Good Food Bucks help to reduce the impact of poverty and income inequality by supplementing the purchasing power of low-income shoppers. Benefit programs like Good Food Bucks help to dismantle structural inequality by targeting support directly towards families and individuals who are impoverished in our high cost of living state due to historically unjust systems. Through supporting Good Food Bucks, New Jersey is working towards becoming a leader in food security and sustainable food systems.
Know of a market or store you’d like to see Good Food Bucks at? Reach out to us at GoodFoodBucks@City-Green.org!