The Olympia Farmers Market will double the spending power of its low-income customers, the market announced this week.
With help from a $30,000 grant from the state Department of Health, the market will increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables shoppers using low-income programs can buy from local farmers.
The market accepts Washington State Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, Women Infant Child (WIC) checks and Senior Checks distributed by the USDA's Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
EBT card holders can make exchanges for tokens at the market's main office. Now, those tokens will be worth twice as much.
For example, an EBT cardholder who swipes for $10 worth of tokens, will now receive $20 in tokens with the "Fresh Bucks" program.
The state Department of Social and Health Services reported that of the 267,000 people living in Thurston County, more than 73,000 receive state economic assistance. More than 50,000 receive Basic Food Assistance.
"This data suggests a need to address food insecurity, and to address the gaps accessing nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income clients," Mary DiMatteo, the market's community outreach manager, said in the news release.