By Davida Douglas, Executive Director, Alchemist

Now that spring has arrived, the CalFresh program (formerly Food Stamps) is in full swing at farmers’ markets around the region. Alchemist CDC began bringing CalFresh processing to farmers’ markets in September of 2011. CalFresh recipients can use their benefits to purchase scrip coupons that can be spent with participating vendors throughout the markets.

“I love it ‘cause it’s cheaper at the market than at the grocery store. It seems like the vegetables last longer, too,” said a customer of Florin Sears Farmers’ Market.

Fresh, healthy food is difficult to come by in some parts of the greater Sacramento area, where a dearth of grocery stores can create a “food desert,” or the price of produce at stores can be high enough to drive people toward readily available unhealthy options. Farmers’ markets can provide accessibility to more affordable produce, especially when purchased at its peak season or in larger quantities. The program has been a success and is expected to grow. Customers appreciate the CalFresh processing services, saying they are able to buy more groceries at the farmers’ markets now that they can use their benefits. Participating vendors can see the advantage that the program is bringing new customers to the market. This program would not be possible without the dedication of our interns and volunteers. We hope you’ll consider volunteering at one of our markets, or making a donation toward the cost of coordinating interns and volunteers and purchasing program materials. Your donation of time or money goes a long way with a small organization like Alchemist – we know how to stretch your donation dollar! Thank you for practicing your alchemy.

Come see us at the following famers’ markets:

  • Central, operating year-round on Sundays, 8-12, underneath the freeway at 8th and W Streets in Downtown Sacramento.
  • Florin Sears, operating year-round, 8-12, at the Florin Mall on Florin Road and 65th Street in Sacramento.
  • The Promenade, operating June-September, 8-12, at 3637 N. Freeway Dr. in N. Natomas. **New Location**
  • Laguna Gateway, operating year-round, 8-12, at the corner of Laguna and Bighorn Boulevards in Elk Grove.
  • Sunrise Light Rail Station farmers’ market, operating year-round, 8-12 in Rancho Cordova.

For a limited time, Alchemist CDC is offering Market Match at these locations. CalFresh customers receive an extra $5 for every $10 spent with CalFresh at the market.