Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FreshConnect Checks Can Be Used at Winter Farmers' Markets

Consumers are being reminded that FreshConnect Checks are being accepted at participating winter farmers' markets for the first time.

The program, which increases the purchasing power of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits used at farmers' markets, was extended yearround and now provides low-income families the chance to use the checks 12 months a year.

Twelve winter markets are participating in the FreshConnect program, with more expected to join in coming weeks.

**   Ithaca Farmers’ Market (Tompkins County)

**  Otsiningo Farmers’ Market  (Broome County)

**  Kingston Farmers’ Market (Ulster County) 

**  Schenectady Greenmarket (Schenectady County)

**  Veggie Mobile (Capital Region)

**  SUNY Plaza Farmers’ Market (Albany County)

**  Empire Plaza (Albany County)

**  Oneida County Public Market (Oneida County)

**  Foodlink  (Monroe County)

**  Rochester Public Market (Monroe County)

**  South Wedge Farmers’ Market (Monroe County)

**  Brighton Farmers’ Market  (Monroe County)

More than 150,000 checks already have been issued to 180 sites across the state to help eligible New Yorkers access healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, during the 2015 traditional farmers' market season.

Additional checks will be issued through the winter so even more consumers can be reached..

The FreshConnect Checks program encourages recipients to use their SNAP benefits at participating farmers' markets. The checks provide $2 incentives for every $5 in SNAP benefits spent, increasing the purchasing power of SNAP consumers by 40 percent.

In 2014, more than $3.2 million in SNAP sales occurred at farmers' markets throughout the state.

The FreshConnect Program was launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2011 and is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.  FreshConnect-funded projects aim to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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