Families who receive food stamps in New York City can start cashing in "Health Bucks" coupons at 65 farmers' markets across the city, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Thursday.
Health Bucks are $2 coupons redeemable for fresh fruit and vegetables at participating farmers' markets, officials said. A customer receives the coupon for every $5 he or she spends using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
Some coupons are also available to community organizations located in Health Department District Public Health Office neighborhoods in the South Bronx, North and Central Brooklyn, and East and Central Harlem.
They can be used during the 2011 farmers' market season from July 1 to Nov. 15.
"Health Bucks makes fruits and vegetables more affordable and bring people to the farmers' markets, where many spend some of their own money to buy these healthy items," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
Health Bucks began as a pilot program in the Bronx in 2005 and has since expanded to 65 farmers' markets in all five boroughs, said officials. It's run through the city's Health Department and community organizations throughout the city.
It's aimed at neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and chronic illness, as well as low consumption rates for fresh fruits and vegetables.
How to use Health Bucks
- Use your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to buy fresh produce at a farmers’ market participating in the program.
- Use your Health Bucks on your next visit to the farmers’ market to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables before they expire on Nov. 15.
- Spend Health Bucks at any of the 65 participating farmers’ markets – not just the one where you received them.
- Attend a Stellar Farmers’ Market cooking class and receive a Health Bucks coupon. Stellar Farmers Markets is a program of the Health Department that provides nutrition workshops and cooking demonstrations at 18 markets across the City. Participants receive a $2 Health Buck and a taste sample of the featured recipe following the workshop.
For a complete list of farmers’ markets that participate in the Health Bucks and the Stellar Farmers Markets program, search Health Bucks or Stellar Farmers’ Markets on www.nyc.gov or for more information visit Eating Healthy NYC on Facebook.
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