Health Department

Produce Perks Program In Hamilton County

May. 1

'Produce Perks' Incentive Helps Improve Fresh Food Access Through Six Area Farmers' Markets

Six farmers' markets in Hamilton County are participating in a new pilot program that offers incentive dollars to customers already utilizing the Ohio Direction Card, according to Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County. The program will run May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015.

The Produce Perks program increases affordability and accessibility to healthful foods for low-income populations, focusing on access to healthy fruits and vegetables.

The program supports local economies and seeks to expand throughout the county and across the state in the future. 

How it works:

  • Produce Perks are 2-for-1 incentive tokens given to customers at participating farmers' markets who use an Ohio Direction Card (Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT card) to purchase food.
  • A customer wishing to use food assistance benefits can swipe their card at one central terminal, located at the information booths, and ask to withdraw a desired amount.
  • The market provides tokens for the transaction and additional Produce Perks that can be spent on fruits and vegetables.
  • The incentive is a dollar-for-dollar match for up to $10 using an Ohio Direction Card at the market.

As the name suggests, Produce Perks are only good for purchasing fruits and vegetables. All other tokens purchased with the Ohio Direction Card are good to use on eligible items at the market.

There is no minimum purchase amount to qualify for the incentives; and Produce Perks tokens can be used at all six participating markets.

The Produce Perks incentive is modeled after a similar program in Cuyahoga County.

It is administered by OSU Extension, Hamilton County as a partnership of OSU Extension, Hamilton County, the Cincinnati Health Department and the City of Cincinnati Creating Healthy Communities initiative.

Participating markets:

  • Northside Farmers' Market
  • Lettuce Eat Well Farmers' Market
  • College Hill Farmers' Market
  • Wyoming Farmers' Market
  • Findlay Market
  • Findlay Market Farmstand @ Roberts Academy

For more information, please contact:

Christine F. Olinsky - Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County
5093 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati OH 45223

Tevis Foreman, MA - Cincinnati Health Department Urban Farming Program
Creating Healthy Communities
3101 Burnet Ave., Ste. 201, Cincinnati, OH 45229

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