Image from Fresh Bucks website.
On September 17, 2018, the City of Seattle announced “Fresh Bucks at Safeway”, a new partnership between the City of Seattle and Safeway that is implementing the city’s Fresh Bucks program at all Safeway locations in Seattle. Fresh Bucks is a King County food access program administered by the City of Seattle that makes healthy foods more affordable for low-income King County residents. This program is offered to King County residents who use their federal food stamp benefits (SNAP) to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables. At all Safeway stores in Seattle, customers who buy at least $10 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables using their SNAP/EBT card and their Safeway Club Card will get a Fresh Bucks coupon for $5 off their next purchase of fruits and vegetables. Click here for all Seattle Safeway locations.
The Fresh Bucks program model also includes Fresh Bucks Rx, an additional strategy that allows health providers to write “prescriptions” for fruits and vegetables that can be redeemed at participating farmer’s markets, farm stands, and Ethnic grocery stores. The City of Seattle is also pilot testing Fresh Bucks Retail, another Fresh Bucks program strategy that partners with ethnic grocery stores to offer discounts at the checkout on fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Fresh Bucks program is funded by the sweetened beverage tax, which was passed in June 2017 to help improve access to healthy food and fund programs aimed at reducing educational disparities facing communities of color. Currently, Fresh Bucks is available at neighborhood grocery stores and farmers markets throughout King County. Since its launch in 2012, farmers markets participating in the Fresh Bucks program has increased from 7 to 29, and residents participating in the program has increased from 1,500 to 4,556. The total money earned by local farmers from this program has increased by over $250,000, and more money is being returned to the local economy. Not only is the Fresh Bucks program making healthy choice possible, but it is also increasing low-income access to farmers markets and increasing local farmer profits.
Read the City of Seattle’s announcement of the “Fresh Bucks at Safeway” partnership here.