Produce Perks SNAP Match Program
The Toledo Farmers' Market's Produce Perks SNAP Match Program runs year-round!
We will match up to $20 of EBT funds per market, per card. The dollars matched can only be used for local produce. Customers can exchange their EBT funds for tokens at the Customer Service Center at our Westgate or Downtown Market.
Q: What is Produce Perks?
Produce Perks is a program that “matches” SNAP/Ohio Direction Card dollars spent at farmers’ markets. Whatever you spend on your Ohio Direction Card, you’ll get a dollar for dollar match of up to $20 in DUFB tokens that you can spend on fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally. So, if you spend $20 on your Ohio Direction Card, you’ll get an extra $20 – FREE – that you can use to buy fresher, locally-grown produce.
Q: How do I use my Ohio Direction Card at a farmers’ market?
Most markets have a central location where a staff person can swipe your Ohio Direction Card. You’ll tell the staff person how much you want to spend on your Ohio Direction Card, and you’ll get that amount of Ohio Direction Card tokens that you spend like cash with the vendors that sell eligible food items.
Each farmers’ market issues its own unique Ohio Direction Card tokens - these are worth $1 each and are only good at the market where you received them. Vendors are not allowed to give you change for Ohio Direction Card tokens.
Money is deducted from your Ohio Direction Card account the day you get the tokens, whether or not you spend the tokens that day. If you don’t spend all your tokens, you have two options: you can get a refund on your Ohio Direction Card tokens on the day you get them, OR you can save them and use them later. Ohio Direction Card tokens can be spent any time during the entire market season.
Q: How do I get Produce Perks tokens?
When you use your Ohio Direction Card at a participating market, you’ll automatically get an equal value of orange Produce Perks tokens, up to $20.
Q: What can I buy with my tokens?
You can spend your Produce Perks tokens on fresh fruits and vegetables that were grown locally. You can spend your Ohio Direction Card tokens on almost anything edible at the market, except ready-to-eat prepared foods.
Q: Why can I only buy locally -grown fruits and vegetables with my Produce Perks tokens?
Produce Perks is a program with two goals: to help low-income families access fresher, healthy foods AND to support local farmers. By spending your Produce Perks tokens on locally-grown products, you’re helping local farmers boost their incomes, and that is great for the local economy. You can still use your regular Ohio Direction Card tokens for other food items, like meats, cheeses, and fresh bread from the other market vendors.
Q: Do I have to sign up for something?
No, just come to the market and use your Ohio Direction Card. When you swipe your Ohio Direction Card, the market staff person will record the last 4 digits of your Ohio Direction Card account number – this is only so that we can track how many new customers are coming because of Produce Perks and how many times people come back. In addition, you may be asked some questions for our research about your visit to the market.
Q: What if I don’t want to spend all my Produce Perks tokens today?
Keep them and use them next week! Produce Perks tokens are not refundable because they’re free. Some people like to save up their tokens for when their favorite fruits and vegetables are in season and then buy large quantities to can or freeze.
Q: Why can I only get $20 per market day?
Produce Perks has a limited budget. We want as many people as possible to get the benefit of doubling their fruit and vegetable purchasing power, and the best way to do that is to limit the amount of tokens one person can get per market visit. You can come back every week to this market, and you can visit any other participating market, and you’ll get up to $20 matched at each and every visit.
Q: Is it really free? Where does the money come from?
Yes, it’s really free. Produce Perks is a project of Produce Perks Midwest, a nonprofit based in Cincinnati. Their goal is to get healthier food to local families while supporting local farmers. Matching funding comes from private foundations from here in Northwest Ohio.
Q: What is an Ohio Direction Card and how can I get one?
An Ohio Direction Card is the common name for the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card used by recipients of federal food assistance benefits in Ohio. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the new name for the federal food assistance program formerly called Food Stamps.
In order to qualify for an Ohio Direction Card, you must meet certain requirements for income and expenses determined by the State of Ohio. To see if you qualify and apply for benefits, contact your local food bank for information on where to go in your community to apply for benefits, or call the United Way’s 2-1-1 service (dial 2-1-1 on any phone).