For families who rely on SNAP (food stamps), fresh produce is often off the table—literally. But in Coshocton and Tuscarawas counties in Ohio, that’s about to change. A new program is bringing “produce-purchasing power” to the families who need it most. Now families shopping with SNAP at the Coshocton, Dover and New Philadelphia locations of Buehler’s Fresh Foods will receive up to $10 extra—per visit—to spend on fruits and vegetables. It’s all because of the Produce Perks Program.
Families struggling with poverty often simply cannot afford the daily fruits and vegetables they need. As a result, the same people forced to skip meals are also likely to suffer from obesity and diabetes—because the foods they can afford lead to high rates of diet-related disease.
Each time SNAP customers spend at least $5 on fresh produce at Buehler’s, they will receive a $5 coupon for more fresh fruits and vegetables. Customers who spend more than $10 will receive a $10 coupon. There’s no enrollment or paperwork to fill out; shoppers receive the benefit automatically. Buehler’s Fresh Foods locations in Coshocton, Dover and New Philadelphia will distribute produce vouchers starting on Sept. 1, joining the two stores in Wooster and one in Orville that already offer the program.
Founded in 1929, Buehler’s Fresh Foods is an employee-owned supermarket chain with 13 locations in northeast Ohio.
Produce Perks is Ohio’s nutrition incentive program, empowering SNAP recipients to purchase fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables from Ohio farmers’ markets and grocery-retailers across the state. The program provides a $1-for-$1 match for shoppers using SNAP/EBT to buy healthy produce. Produce Perks is operational at more than 100 locations statewide and generated more than $800,000 in sales in 2018. The program increases affordable access to healthy foods, supports Ohio farmers and strengthens local economies.
“Produce Perks Midwest is thrilled to have Buehler’s Fresh Foods expand their participation in the Produce Perks program. We recognize their leadership amongst Ohio grocery-retailers and appreciate their commitment to providing affordable access to healthy foods. We’re excited to be working with a retail partner that shares our values toward building equitable communities and resilient food systems,” says Tevis Foreman, executive director, Produce Perks Midwest.