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Buck Starts and Stops Here at the Farmers Market in New Brunswick

The Community Connections team continued supporting increased access to healthier foods in the New Brunswick community through the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market (briefly, Farmers Market) during the Market’s 2019 season. In addition to Farmers Market’s three regular locations, we maintained the Lincoln Annex School pop-up Farmers Market for the second year in a row.

One of the strategies that we utilized to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables was the Market Bucks. The Farmers Market regularly accepts SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits, and when customers use these benefits at the Farmers Market, they can earn matching Market Bucks up to a certain amount per day. With the support of the NJHCN, we were able to extend these benefits to the Lincoln Annex School and the surrounding community that is affected by limited economic resources and limited access to fresh produce.

In addition to earning the Market Bucks by using their federal assistance benefits, customers also received Market Bucks by participating in the nutrition and health-related, educational activities at the Market. Out of all, children were the most excited ones about earning the Bucks through our interactive, educational games. They lined up in front of the nutrition stand to have their turn at winning extra Bucks through the nutrition game with a spinning wheel.

On the day of the Lincoln School Farmers Market, more than 200 community members, children and adults, were able to receive and use their Market Bucks to purchase the fresh fruits and vegetables from our local farmer. As we brought together the environmental, educational, and economic incentives through this project, the Farmers Market has been the perfect place for the Bucks to stop – in a very positive way!

About the Grantee

Rutgers The State University of New Jersey

Through its Department of Nutritional Sciences and Cooperative Extension units, Rutgers provides nutrition education, conducts nutrition- and health-related research, builds partnerships, and implements evidence-based strategies to improve the nutrition status, health and well-being of people throughout New Jersey.