As the South San Francisco Farmers' Market season draws to a close this month, the numbers are in for how many CalFresh EBT users are buying groceries at the event.
The amount of money spent via EBT at the South San Francisco Farmers' Market is over 4 times what EBT customers spent in the 2011 market season.
The Market Match program, created by the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association (PCFMA) in 2008, incentivizes EBT users to purchase food at farmers' markets. When they spend $10 or more on any given day at the market, they receive an extra $5 to spend on fruits or vegetables there.
During the market season from May to Oct. 2011 in South San Francisco, EBT users spent $343 at the local farmers' market. According to Katie Gronsky of the PCFMA, since May this year, EBT users have spent $1,393.
"That's still low for a farmers' market," Gronsky said. She said that the number of EBT users at the South San Francisco market is smaller than at most others within the PCFMA's 7-county area, but she was encouraged by the dramatic increase in South City over last year.
The wider region that the PCFMA reaches has also seen a steady increase in EBT customers. Users spent about $14,400 at farmers' markets in Aug. 2011, and in Aug. 2012, they spent about $18,400.
Gronsky says that the Market Match program and accompanying classes and workshops that PCFMA sponors help Calfresh users learn more about staying healthy.
"I think it’s really important because with Calfresh, there's no rules or regulations," she said. "I think it’s important that people do spend their money on fresh fruits and vegetables, rather than something unhealthy at the grocery store."
This week, PCFMA's featured produce is apples; click here to learn more.
South City's market runs through Oct. 27.