SNAP Shares are growing and changing! Since 2012, Grow Food Northampton has partnered with Crimson & Clover Farm to make shares in their CSA affordable for low-income families who participate in the SNAP program. Last year, 32 families received a $225 discount (half the annual cost of a small share) and four families received a $105 reduction in the price of a winter share. Participating families could pay their part of the cost by swiping their SNAP EBT card at the farm each month.
This is my first CSA ever. If not for the generosity in providing SNAP shares I would never have the opportunity to participate in this glorious adventure that is sooo nutritious to body and soul. The farm, farmers and beautiful organic harvest is wonderful. I can’t say enough about it. You’ll have to go and check it out for yourself. I promise, you will not be disappointed!— Michelle, Facebook Review
In 2017, the program will grow to between 40 and 50 participants, and the funding approach will change thanks to the new statewide Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) and a new fund transfer mechanism, both offered by the MA Department of Transitional Assistance. Now, HIP will match SNAP payments made to the CSA, up to a limit based on household size. And, monthly share payments will now transfer directly from the customer’s SNAP account to Crimson & Clover’s bank account as soon as benefits arrive each month. There is no need to swipe an EBT card at the farm in most cases!
Grow Food Northampton will continue to contribute to make sure that the net use of SNAP benefits from each customer’s account is less than half the market price of their share. For example, a small share for 20 weeks costs $500 for full-price members. A SNAP Share member will pay $400 in five monthly payments of $80, receiving at least $40 in instant HIP rebate to their SNAP account for each of those payments. Grow Food Northampton will pay the remaining $100. Bottom line: a $500 share for $200 gives families with limited means the chance to eat the healthiest local food money can buy!
Picked up my first ever farm share yesterday. I might need to upgrade to a full share at the rate I’m eating all of these DELICIOUS turnips and salad greens. Holy Moly! Also, the SNAP shares are SO SO SO SO SO SO much appreciated and needed! Super fun bringing the kids for pick your own, and to sniff the sniffs of the adorable herb garden, and play on the swings. I highly recommend this place 🙂 ♥— Jen, Facebook Review
HIP benefits are automatically available to everyone with SNAP, but they only get rebated to your SNAP account if you use SNAP to purchase certain products (fresh fruits and vegetables) sold through certain channels (participating CSA farms, farmers’ markets, farm stands, or mobile markets). Regardless of the amount of your monthly SNAP benefit, the maximum HIP benefit is $40/month for households of 1-2, $60/month for households of 3-5, and $80/month for larger households.
How To Apply
SNAP participants should visit crimsonandcloverfarm.com/snap-shares to learn more about the farm and how the program works. A registration form available on that page will begin the sign-up process. After initial registration, applicants will receive a letter and Membership Agreement in the mail that includes more information and an authorization for DTA to transfer SNAP funds to the farm to pay for your share. Once you return that, it will be forwarded to DTA and set up in their payment system. For a full-season share starting the week of June 13, the sign-up deadline is May 25, so please register ASAP!