FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 044-15
Saturday, October 24, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodriguez (347) 396-4177
Launched in the South Bronx in 2005, Health Bucks is the nation’s largest municipal program to expand access to fresh produce for low income New Yorkers
The New York City Health Department today announced the 10 year anniversary of the Health Bucks program. Health Bucks, $2 coupons redeemable for fresh produce at all NYC farmers’ markets, increase low-income New Yorkers’ access to high-quality, fresh fruits and vegetables. With nearly 1 in 6 New Yorkers relying on food assistance and nearly 1 in 4 children food insecure, Health Bucks fill a critical need by making fresh produce more affordable. The Health Bucks program is the largest city-run fruit and vegetable incentive program in the nation and has helped inspired healthy food incentive programs across the country. Over the last 10 years, low-income New Yorkers across the city have purchased more than $2 million worth of fresh produce from New York City farmers’ markets using Health Bucks.
“Suggesting that people eat more fruits and vegetables is excellent health advice, but following this advice depends on the availability of fresh produce that is affordable,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Health Bucks help low-income New Yorkers stretch their food budget by providing extra money for farm fresh fruits and vegetables at every New York City farmers’ market. Over the past decade, the program has helped thousands of New Yorkers purchase the foods they deserve to lead healthier lives.”
“Children and youth are more likely to be successful when they feel healthy and strong, and nutritious eating is a critical factor in that equation,” said Phoebe C. Boyer, President and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society. “We are thrilled that through our Go!Healthy program we can introduce youth and their parents to Health Bucks and give them the opportunity to deepen their appreciation of and excitement for healthy foods and eating. It’s a fantastic program.”
Health Bucks are distributed as a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit at more than 120 NYC farmers’ markets. For every $5 spent at the market using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), SNAP recipients receive one $2 Health Buck coupon. Health Bucks are also distributed by more than 350 community-based organizations across the city as part of nutrition and health programming and by organizations that purchase the coupons to support their healthy eating initiatives.
The Health Bucks program began in the South Bronx in 2005 with the distribution of 3,000 coupons for use at 11 farmers’ markets. This year, more than 400,000 Health Bucks will be distributed to low-income New Yorkers through partnerships with more than 120 farmers’ markets and 350 community-based organizations. A growing number of organizations also purchase Health Bucks to distribute as part of their healthy eating programming. With the support of community partners across the five boroughs, New Yorkers of all ages are benefiting from increased spending power for healthy foods. Learn more about Health Bucks .