(Photo | by Amanda Photographic)
On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, the Bend Farmers Market (Market) kicks off its season and with it, is continuing its participation in the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program for the third year in a row, as the Market saw its highest-ever EBT sales in 2021.
“We are excited to announce that we’re able to match up to $20 again this season,” said Jesica Carleton, the Market’s returning manager. “Last year, we had our highest EBT/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) sales in the history of the BFM ($35,372). We attribute this to the ability to offer DUFB, and we heard from a number of people that our outreach efforts worked to bring in more SNAP-eligible customers.”
To put these sales into perspective, when evaluating EBT/SNAP sales over the years at the Market, the highest sales were in the 2012 season with $23,472 coming from EBT/SNAP dollars. Now comparing that number to 2021 sales, that’s a 40.4 percent increase, and a 105.3 percent increase from 2020.
Because of its success, the Market had to specially request additional SNAP tokens to meet its increase in SNAP utilization. Carleton, who operated the Market table each Wednesday last year, spoke with many customers and a number of folks mentioned that they normally couldn’t afford to purchase fresh food, and that because of the DUFB program, they were able to buy and cook with fresh, local food purchased at the Market.
“Not only does the DUFB program support more of our community members in their ability to purchase fresh, local food from our farmers,” said Marielle Slater, the Market’s Chairperson of the Board, “it provides greater diversity at our Market and the opportunity for greater health. We are delighted about that.”
For the vendors, the DUFB program is a win whether they can or can’t accept DUFB tokens. “Because the DUFB is a matching program, some vendors cannot accept DUFB tokens, but they can accept SNAP tokens,” said Courtney Schuur, co-owner of North 44 Farm and newly appointed Market board member. “So customers could use DUFB tokens with the vendors who could accept, then use SNAP dollars with the other vendors who couldn’t take DUFB. Therefore, more vendors benefit, and customers get access to double the food.”
At the end of the season last year, the Market Board conducted a survey with its vendors, and of those who responded, the 11 vendors who could accept DUFB indicated that the program resulted in a positive impact for their business. To put that sentiment into numbers, from 2020 to 2021, the program resulted in a 98.4 percent increase in DUFB sales ($18,000).
“Due to the success of this program, additional funding has been awarded to make the $20 match available statewide,” said Carleton, “and we will continue to do our part to ensure we keep that extra funding to support our community.”
As a reminder, the DUFB program is Oregon’s incentive program that makes it easier for low-income Oregonians to eat more fresh, local food while also getting to support family farmers and local vendors. The program doubles the value of SNAP benefits so recipients can purchase fresh meats, cheeses, eggs and bread and get an additional $20 to spend on fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, beans, herbs and veggie start. Just like last year, if you spend $20 of your SNAP dollars at the Market on any food item, the Market will give you another $20 to buy fresh local veggies and fruit.
The Market will run every Wednesday from 2pm to 6pm May 4 to October 12. The Market is located downtown in Brooks Street Alley between Franklin and Minnesota.
New Market vendors this year include DD Ranch, run by Linda and Jeff Anspach and located in Smith Rock, offers 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished beef, lamb, heritage pork, free-range hens and raw honey; The House of Yarrow, run by foodie and plant lover Sofia Krasteva, offers gluten-free sourdough loaves, healthy treats and wildcrafted skincare; Oregon Specialty & Wild Berry Jams, run by Debra and Roy Harris, offers multi-varieties of jams made with local fruit and crafted with less sugar than most jams; and Well Rooted Farms, run by Janelle and Frank Maricle and located in Tumalo, offers fresh produce, pasture-raised eggs and pastured beef and pork.
Wednesday market vendors (32):
Baird Family Orchard, Berkey’s Blueberries, Blissful Spoon, Bontà – Natural Artisan Gelato, Boundless Farmstead, BrandyWine Fisheries, Broadus Bees, Cascade Cultures (Super Belly), Compassion Kombucha, DD Ranch, Deschutes Gourmet Mushrooms, Farmhouse Pies, Field’s Grassfed Beef, Gather Nuts, Groundwork Organics, Happy Harvest Farm, House of Yarrow, Hummus Stop, Jackson’s Corner, Marquam Hill Berries, North 44 Farm, Not Bread, Oregon Jams: Specialty & Wild Berry Jams, Oregon Spirit Distillers, Pine Mountain Ranch, Rainshadow Organics, Roots Wild, Sparrow Bakery, Sungrounded Farm, Thomas Orchards, Tumalo Lavender, Well Rooted Farms.
Wednesday market partner:
High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA). HDFFA is a nonprofit dedicated to enacting a more inclusive, equitable food system — one that proves food education and collaboration across local producers, businesses and our community; and one that drives programs and organizes resources to make local food more accessible and affordable. Their mission is “To support a healthy and thriving food and farm network in Central Oregon through education, collaboration and inclusivity.”
Bend Farmer’s Market
The Bend Farmer’s Market has been an institution in Central Oregon for more than 20 years. Its mission is to create and sustain a centralized market that provides fresh, local produce and farm products to its Central Oregon community, both providing a viable market for its local farmers and enhancing the business, nutritional and community health of Central Oregon.