Crossroads Farmers Market was the first in the country to launch an innovative financial incentive program for individuals who use federal nutrition benefits. Fresh Checks are dollar-value coupons, which the market provides through private funding, that stretch the purchasing power of SNAP (Food Stamps), WIC Fruits and Vegetables Coupons (FVC), and both WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program/FMNP vouchers (further detail below). Fresh Checks may be used to purchase additional fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, and herbs at our seasonal farmers market. Over our eight seasons of operation, Crossroads has distributed over $300,000 in Fresh Checks to over 8,000 area low-income individuals and families. Since we opened in 2007, our model has been replicated in more than 500 farmers markets in 30 states and D.C. thus impacting thousands of farmers.
Funding for Fresh Checks in recent years comes from: Cafritz Foundation, Wholesome Wave, Montgomery County, Prince Georges Community Foundation, Amerigroup, City of Takoma Park, and private donations.
Fresh Checks expire at the end of every market season.
Fresh Checks and SNAP:
Crossroads started its SNAP program in 2007. We started out serving less than a dozen SNAP households during the first two seasons and now about two dozen SNAP-registered families participate in this program each week!
SNAP shoppers are invited to come to market, swipe their Independence Card at our Market Information Tent’s EBT machine, and we’ll match the amount spent up to $15 every week. SNAP shoppers will receive $1 wooden tokens for the money spent from their card and additional Fresh Checks for the match.
Tokens never expire but can only be redeemed at Crossroads Market. More information about SNAP can be found here.
Fresh Checks and WIC:
WIC shoppers are invited to redeem their FVC and FMNP vouchers directly with the farmers. Upon paying for their produce, WIC shoppers use their coupons/vouchers the same way as they would use a personal check. The vendor will give the shopper a receipt. WIC shoppers then go to the Market Information Tent to redeem this receipt for the matched amount (up to $5) in Fresh Checks.
If you are a mother of a child ages “on the way” to 5, more information about WIC can be found here.
Fresh Checks and Seniors:
Senior shoppers are invited to redeem their Senior FMNP vouchers directly with the farmers. Upon paying for their produce, WIC shoppers use their vouchers the same way as they would use a personal check. The vendor will give the shopper a receipt. WIC shoppers then go to the Market Information Tent to redeem this receipt for a matched amount (up to $5) in Fresh Checks. Those presenting a valid Senior ID card at the Market Information Tent are eligible for additional Fresh Checks when funds are available.
WIC participants may request FMNP vouchers at their local WIC office. Senior FMNP pickup dates can be found here.