FreshConnect Fresh2You Initiative Now Provides $2 Checks for Every $2 Spent as Part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Up from $2 for Every $5 Spent
Will Allow Families in Need to Purchase More Healthy Foods, Including Produce, Dairy, and Meats, Helping to Offset Recent Reductions in SNAP Benefits and Inflation Costs and Increase Revenue for New York Farmers
Builds Upon Governor Hochul's Commitment to Boost New York's Agriculture and Local Food Sourcing
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a new initiative that will double the buying power for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients at farmers' markets across New York State. The FreshConnect Fresh2You program will now provide eligible New Yorkers with a dollar-for-dollar match, which will allow families in need to purchase more healthy food, including produce, dairy and meats. This new initiative will help to offset the recent reduction in SNAP benefits that were a part of pandemic relief efforts as well as record inflation costs, provide increased revenue for New York's farmers, and boost local food sourcing while eliminating food scarcity, which are among the goals outlined in the Governor's Executive Budget proposal and her State of the State address.
"New York has taken significant steps to develop strong, mutually-beneficial relationships between local farmers and the communities they feed," Governor Hochul said. "The new Fresh2You initiative will help ensure New Yorkers have more money to spend on healthy foods like dairy, meat, produce and more, while creating greater health outcomes, an economic boost to New York's farmers and a stronger food supply chain."
The FreshConnect Fresh2You initiative will now provide SNAP beneficiaries at participating farmers' markets with $2 checks for every $2 spent as part of the SNAP program, up from $2 for every $5 spent. This new initiative is part of the long-standing FreshConnect Checks Program, which is administered by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. It helps expand access to fresh food in underserved communities, to improve the diet of individuals in those communities and to foster economic development by supporting local farmers. By allowing the purchase of dairy products, meats and more in addition to the purchase of fruits and vegetables, the FreshConnect program supports even more farmers across New York State.
Any farmer or vendor who is selling a SNAP-eligible food item at any farmers' market, farm stand or mobile market operating in New York State may accept a FreshConnect Check and now take part in the Fresh2You initiative. Checks can be used to purchase dairy, produce, meats, fish, eggs and more.
The FreshConnect Fresh2You initiative will launch and be available to consumers April 15. Market operators will also be receiving new marketing materials and training on the new initiative.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "We are excited to launch this new match program, understanding the significance of what this will mean to New York consumers and farmers alike. It will increase access to nutritious healthy foods, which will also have a direct benefit to our farmers and producers. I thank Governor Hochul for making this possible, and for her commitment to New York agriculture and strengthening the local food system."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "The FreshConnect program continues to offer new and innovative ways for New Yorkers to easily access fresh, locally-grown food that they can purchase with their SNAP benefits. This will increase the purchasing power of SNAP recipients while benefitting local farmers and farmers' markets around the state."
In addition to SNAP consumers, the FreshConnect Checks program is also available to veterans, service members and their immediate families to use the benefits at New York State farmers' markets, farm stands and mobile markets. Veterans can receive $50 in FreshConnect coupons this year from New York State Department of Veterans' Services offices.
New York State Department of Veterans' Services Commissioner Viviana DeCohen said, "The dollar-for-dollar match for the FreshConnect Fresh2You initiative provides life-saving benefits for those we serve. This program will increase the availability and accessibility of healthy, fresh produce for those who need it most. The FreshConnect Fresh2You initiative is an important tool for us to ensure all New Yorkers have access to whole and nutritious foods."
Executive Director of the Farmers' Market Federation of New York Diane Eggert said, "The FreshConnect Fresh2You initiative will go a long way to assisting consumers that lost some of their SNAP benefits due to the reductions to the SNAP program. This gives them a tremendous boost to their buying power and encourages them to shop directly with farmers at the many farmers markets across the state. This gives the program a double benefit by assisting those with SNAP benefits to eat a more healthy diet, rich in local foods, while at the same time it boosts the sales of foods grown and produced by local farmers, helping to sustain local agriculture. We are thankful for Governor Hochul's commitment to supporting local food and the state's farmers."
Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, "The City of Rochester Public Market has a long tradition of being a haven of fresh, healthy, and affordable food in an urban setting where there are few similar choices. This expansion of the FreshConnect supplement will allow even more of our citizens to access to healthy, local foods and expand the more than $1 million in SNAP benefits already being redeemed at the Market. I'd like to thank Governor Hochul for instituting this program, which will also provide an essential source of additional income for local farmers and other Market vendors."
About Farmers' Markets in New York State
Farmers' markets fill an essential gap in New York's local food supply chains by improving access to and encouraging consumption of locally grown foods and supporting direct farmer-to-consumer transactions. Farmers' markets, farm stands and mobile markets are crucial components to a healthy food system. Today, New York has more than 400 farmers' markets, 250 farm stands and 10 mobile markets. They provide outlets for agricultural producers to meet the rising consumer demand for a variety of fresh, affordable and convenient products grown directly from the farm. New York State—through the Department of Agriculture and Markets, Department of Health, Office for the Aging and Office of Temporary Disability Assistance—administers several programs that help low-income families, seniors and Veterans access fresh, healthy food at participating markets. To learn more about the Department's farmers' market programs or to find a market near you, visit https://agriculture.ny.gov/farmersmarkets.
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