May 21, 2023 - Food and Drink

SNAP users get triple value at Green City Market

Photo of people at a farmers market selling asparagus

Green City Market West Loop. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Famers markets' high prices make it a tough sell for low-income shoppers, who already suffer disproportionately from low produce intake. But a new program has the potential to change that equation in an unlikely place.

What's happening: Green City Market is offering triple value for SNAP dollars used at any of its three weekly markets — Wednesday and Saturday in Lincoln Park and Saturday in the West Loop.

  • So when SNAP users redeem $25 at the market info booth, they get vouchers for $75 in spending on eligible produce.

Context: Called GCM For All, the program combines funds from Link Up Illinois that doubles the value of SNAP dollars, with additional funds from private Green City donations.

What they're saying: "We want everyone to know that they're welcome and that Green City should be accessible to everyone," GCM executive director Mandy Moody tells Axios.

  • "Access to local food is a right and whatever we can do to make that a reality for people is what we want to do to make that happen."

By the numbers: After debuting the program last year, Green City saw SNAP purchasing power at the markets go from $59,033 in 2021 to $149,186 in 2022.

What's more: GCM also recently launched Nourishing Neighbors and Farm to Fridge programs that buy produce from farmers and donate it to local pantries, fridges and food banks.

Reality check: Even with the triple value program, a handful of asparagus at the market still costs more than a McDonald's hamburger.

  • But folks should keep in mind that buying fresh local produce keeps money in the local economy and offers eaters maximum freshness and nutrient value. And it's fun.

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