For SNAP recipients, your benefits allow you to shop at any grocery stores, convenience stores, and even online at a multitude of stores where SNAP is accepted. The flexibility to purchase the groceries you need and want makes SNAP an inclusive and wide-reaching program, and the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) increases the affordability of shopping at local farmers markets, farm stands, CSAs and mobile markets!
Established in 2017, HIP provides monthly incentives to SNAP households by immediately adding money spent on produce back to their EBT cards to be used at any other SNAP retailer statewide. Families are reimbursed dollar-for-dollar, up to $40 monthly for households of one or two people, $60 monthly for households of three to five and $80 for households of six or more. This means that your budget can stretch farther each month when you purchase local, fresh produce, even as we see grocery store prices rising with the current inflation. If you are interested in using HIP at your local farmers market, you can always visit the market manager’s table to learn which vendors accept HIP and how to process payments.
For the region’s farmers, HIP benefits have also enabled them to stay in business during the pandemic and increased the Commonwealth’s capacity to provide fresh produce locally, helping to close gaps in national supply chain shortages and distribution issues. Every HIP dollar spent is reinvested back into the local economy. If established as a permanent program in the state budget, HIP would generate additional new jobs in the local farm industry, allow farmers to better protect their land, and account for more than 160,000 individuals increasing their fruit and vegetable intake by one serving per day. Farmers will also be able to better plan around and depend on HIP, as they plant crops for each season. Less budget fluctuations year to year means more accurate revenue projections for the Commonwealth’s agriculture industry.