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California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Program: See How It Helps Some Low-Income Californians Afford More Food

California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Project
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: A woman shops for groceries in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), more commonly known as Food Stamps,on September 18, 2013 in New York City. According to a Gallup poll released earlier this month, 20% of American adults struggled to buy enough food at some point in the last year. The rate of hungry people in America has gone relatively unchanged since 2008, suggesting the economic recovery since the 2008 recession may be disproportionately affecting the wealthy. More than 50 of GrowNYC's Greenmarket's now accept EBT; over $800,000 in sales were complete with EBT payment at the Greenmarket's in 2012. GrowNYC is also currently offering a program known as Health Bucks: for ever $5 spent using EBT at a Greenmarket, GrowNYC provides an additional $2, which can be spent specifically on fresh fruits and vegetables. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

California has introduced a California Fruit and Vegetable EBT pilot program to increase the affordability and accessibility of fresh produce for individuals receiving aid. 

Receivers of CalFresh will be compensated for buying locally produced food under the program. 

California’s Department of Social Services explained on its official website that the pilot project intends to create and improve a scalable model that USDA Food and Nutrition Service authorized retailers can quickly adopt different types, sizes, and locations in the future to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in California. 

California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Project

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 04: A sign noting the acceptance of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that are used by state welfare departments to issue benefits is displayed at a grocery store on December 04, 2019 in Oakland, California. Nearly 700,000 people are set to lose their food stamp benefits after the Trump administration announced plans to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

READ ALSO: CalFresh Benefits Terminated: Can You Reapply For CalFresh If The Programme Has Been Terminated?

California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Program: What It Means

CAP Radio reported that the statewide implementation of the California Fruit and Vegetable EBT pilot program will replace the paper coupons that certain counties and towns previously provided to families making purchases of California-grown fruit. Nevertheless, the statewide scheme will only be run digitally, with benefits being added directly to the EBT accounts of users. 

Eli Zigas, director of food and agriculture policy at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), described how the paper-based redemption scheme was replaced with an electronic one. 

Zigas said that SPUR has previously worked on collaborating with supermarkets to provide incentives to EBT beneficiaries if they bought locally farmed vegetables. Often, the fruit was completely covered by the coupons, which could be used to your subsequent purchase. 

More than 90 retail outlets in the state already participate in the California Fruit and Vegetable EBT pilot program, which is divided between farmers markets and grocery shops.

READ ALSO: CalFresh Application: Guide For SSI Recipients

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