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Health Bucks

Resources Required

Staff:  

  • The NYC Department of Health recommends a full-time position be allotted to this work for at least 10 months of the year if the coordinator oversees more than 10 participating farmers’ markets.
  • Depending on the number of markets in the program and their locations, outreach staff may be needed to distribute Health Bucks and to make connections with community organizations and local markets.
  • An organization or group must be responsible for redeeming the coupons, including accounting and distributing reimbursement to farmers.  NYC Health Bucks uses a contractor to redeem coupons, the Farmers Market Federation of New York.

Training:
Training information is disseminated at the annual kickoff meeting and by email. 

  • Market managers and operators are trained on program operating procedure and tracking requirements.
  • Farmers are trained on Health Bucks use and redemption.
  • Community organizations are trained on Health Bucks distribution, best practices and tracking requirements.

Materials:
Materials needed to operate the Health Bucks program include:

  • Printed Health Bucks
  • Promotional materials including flyers, maps and posters for community organizations and banners, buttons, and aprons for participating markets. 
  • New program adopters should ensure they have the printing capacity to limit the possibility for unauthorized replication of Health Bucks (bar coding, anti-fraud measures, etc.). To print 100,000 Health Bucks and associated promotional materials, NYC printing costs were approximately $20,000.

Funding:
Initially, NYC Health Bucks was funded primarily through the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget allocations. The DOH Food Access and Community Health Program (formerly the Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) Program)contracts with the Farmers Market Federation of New York (FMFNY) to administer the Health Bucks redemption program. The FMFNY’s compensation is based on a percentage of each coupon redeemed.  When the SNAP-use incentive was incorporated, an additional funding stream from the New York City Human Resources Administration, which administers the SNAP program, was added. The Food Access and Community Health Program funds the promotional materials and also reimburses the FMF for mailing and printing costs.

Other Costs:
Participating farmers’ markets should be equipped to accept EBT payments. EBT terminals range in cost from $600-$1000 each, plus usage fees.  While EBT equipment is not a direct Health Bucks program cost, program implementation depends upon farmers’ markets’ ability to accept EBT payments.  Farmers pay to participate in the markets and some of their costs go to paying for the market manager and EBT terminal. Market managers work approximately 15-20 hours per week for 5 months and are paid hourly via grants or otherwise by the market operators.