IWFM Eat Well Initiative

The IWFM Eat Well Initiative is intended to help accomplish one of our primary goals- to increase our community’s access to good, fresh, local foods. We are proud to accept SNAP Benefits (also known as food stamps) at the market to allow everyone in our community to shop at the IWFM.

To use your SNAP benefits at the market, simply visit the IWFM Information Table. There, we will swipe your Hoosier Works Card and process a transaction for the dollar amount you prefer. You will then be given SNAP Tokens to spend with any vendor who sells SNAP-eligible items (all foods intended to be eaten at home, including produce, cheese, meats, honey, bread, dairy products, plants and seeds; any food item that is hot and ready to eat is not eligible). Our vendors offer a variety of nutritious foods, and we encourage you to explore the products they offer.

The IWFM is able to match SNAP purchases! Through donations and grants, IWFM is able to double your purchasing power! For fruit, vegetable, plants, honey, and maple syrup, customers can use Fresh Bucks to match their SNAP purchases for these items. For meat, dairy, eggs, bread, and other foods, the IWFM has a limited number of funds available for Eat Well tokens that will match these purchases as well!

For a complete list of vendors and the tokens they accept, click here.

If you have questions or would like more information about the Eat Well Initiative, contact our Eat Well Coordinator at liz@growingplacesindy.org. We can always use your thoughts, support, and ideas on how to make the program better.

The Indy Winter Farmers Market gladly accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) benefits. Market shoppers swipe their Hoosier Works cards at the Information Table and receive $1 SNAP tokens that are BLACK to represent the funds debited from their SNAP accounts. These tokens can be spent on any SNAP-eligible item.

Mandated by the USDA, SNAP-eligible items are any edible, food items except for hot, prepared food. Acceptable products include: breads, fruits and vegetables, herbs, meats, fish and poultry, dairy products, nuts, seedlings and plants that produce food, honey, maple syrup, canned pickles, jams and jellies, packaged juices, coffee beans and tea leaves.

Fresh Bucks is an incentive program for customers with SNAP benefits that are available at participating Indiana Farmers’ Markets. Fresh Bucks tokens are GREEN and come in $1 increments. This program offers a weekly $20 match to purchase Indiana-grown specialty crops, such as fresh and dried fruits, vegetables and herbs.

This program helps to connect farmers to a new client base while promoting healthy, local and sustainable eating. The program is funded through an Indiana State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and the Indiana State Department of Health.

The Eat Well Initiative is funded by donations through Growing Places Indy’s weekly by-donation yoga series. Eat Well tokens are ORANGE and come in $1 increments. This program offers a weekly match to purchase all other SNAP-eligible items NOT already accepted in the Fresh Bucks Programs. These items include bread, meats, cheese, eggs, honey and maple syrup.

History of the EWI

  • In the 2011-2012 season, the IWFM began the Eat Well Initiative. This two-parted program was intended to increase access to good food in the Indianapolis community, especially for those who are underserved and most vulnerable to food scarcity. Another goal of the program was to increase sales for our vendors and to make the good food they provide available to more folks in Indianapolis.
  • One part of the program was called Veggie Bucks. Funded through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program, these green vouchers were distributed through community partners including Wishard Health, Nutrition and Dietary ServicesThe Project School, The Chase Near Eastside Legacy CenterIndianapolis Senior Center, and the Indy YMCA. Each voucher recipient received up to $30 to purchase Indiana-grown crops, such as fruits, vegetables, produce, greens, herbs, grains, honey and maple syrup. Vendors who accepted Veggie Bucks displayed a green sign at their booth. Then, customers brought their vouchers to market and spent them like cash at vendors’ booths. Over the course of the season, we had over $3700 spent at the IWFM in Veggie Bucks
  • The second part of the Eat Well Initiative was called Eat Well Bucks. IWFM staff created this voucher program to be able to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, also known as EBT or food stamps). These yellow vouchers were distributed only at the IWFM info table. Customers swiped their Hoosier Works cards and received vouchers to spend at the IWFM. Vendors who accepted Eat Well Bucks displayed a yellow sign to indicate to customers that they accept the vouchers. Over the course of the 2011-2012 season, we had over $800 spent in Eat Well Bucks at the IWFM! We look forward to seeing this program continue to grow.
  • During the 2015-2016 IWFM season, over $5,000 was spent at the market on fresh, healthy products for SNAP users.