November 9, 2021
Increased Funding for Market Match Meets Increased Need for Healthy Food Dollars
The Ecology Center is thrilled to announce that the California Legislature has included $20 million for the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) in the state budget over the next two years!

This funding will ensure that hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians will continue to receive support for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at hundreds of farmers’ markets and other farm-direct sites through the Ecology Center’s Market Match program.

We want to express a huge thank you to Governor Newsom and the Legislature, as well as our partners across the state who helped lobby for this important funding.

January - September 2021:

  • $3,439,712 in Market Match spent on fresh fruits & vegetables ($382,190 per month)
  • Average of 34,956 customers per month

January - December 2020:

  • $2,950,725 in Market Match spent on fresh fruits & vegetables ($245,894 per month)
  • Average of 32,083 customers per month

This increased demand is why we are so excited that the Market Match program will be receiving additional funding. Please read our blog to find out how Ecology Center is working for food equity in California through our Market Match program.
EBT Assistance for Northern CA Farm-Direct Outlets
Thanks to a grant from Kaiser Permanente NorCal, the Ecology Center is now able to provide hands-on instruction and financial assistance to farm-direct sites that want to add or expand EBT programs! 

Do you run a farmers’ market, farm stand, CSA, mobile market, food hub, or other farm-direct outlet? Are you located in northern CA?

We can help you with:
- Completing the FNS Application
- Obtaining a FREE wireless Point of Sale (POS) device
- Ordering and purchasing scrip
- Developing bookkeeping and accounting tools
- Deciding on market staffing and redemption models
- Creating print and digital outreach materials
- Shipping you free at-market signage
- Listing your site on the Farmers’ Market Finder (
- Setting up incentive programs like Market Match
Located outside of northern CA? Still reach out to see what we can help you with!

Send us a line at or 510-925-4001.
California Food Policy Report 2020
The California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) released its California Food Policy Report 2020. With this eighth annual edition, CAFPC showcases collective action and advocacy rooted in communities across the state to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 global crisis. The Report shares the CAFPC member councils’ successes in addressing heightened food insecurity, food chain worker health, racial equity, food waste, and food entrepreneurship in the midst of a pandemic, as well as recommendations for the journey ahead.
The Ecology Center’s own Carle Brinkman, Food & Farming Director, contributed to the policy profile, “Farmers’ Markets Are Essential,” detailing the ways farmers’ markets helped many California communities remain nourished despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) is a coalition of 27 food policy councils and similar organizations from around the state who work together on state policy and collaborate on issues common to the regions they comprise, sharing best practices to promote food system change, improve the effectiveness of local councils and strengthen the interaction among them.
New Law will Expand CalFresh Eligibility for College Students
Food insecurity is a major issue among state college students. However, in order to qualify to receive CalFresh benefits, college students in California must work at least 20 hours per week or meet one of the work exemptions, such as being enrolled in a CalFresh-approved Employment and Training (E&T) services program. Assembly Bill 396, introduced by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) and recently passed as law, aims to increase the number of approved E&T programs so students have more opportunities to meet the work exemption. 

Examples of qualifying programs for the E&T student exemption include internships, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, continuous workshops or semester-long seminars that teach interviewing skills and resume writing, and certain graduate school programs. Only a small percentage of the approximately 9,000 California Community College programs that could qualify are currently approved, according to The Century Foundation

Thanks to AB 396, many more programs should start getting approved starting within the next couple years, allowing more students to qualify for much-needed food assistance.
Do you work with college students?

Students with CalFresh can get extra money at some farmers’ markets to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables with Market Match.

Help us get the word out about Market Match using our College Promotion Toolkit!
Announcing our New Program Manager
We are elated to announce that Heidi Kleiner is our new Farmers’ Market Access & Equity (FMAE) Program Manager! Heidi has been at the Ecology Center since December 2019 as FMAE Program Coordinator and brings a strong background in food systems to this new role through her work in rural Virginia and the Bay Area. Before joining Ecology Center, she worked with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano in the roles of CalFresh Outreach and Agency Relations. She has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia Tech and a Masters in Public Health from San Francisco State. In her free time, Heidi enjoys hiking, camping, and experimenting in the kitchen.

We are truly excited and grateful to have her transition into a leadership role for the program. Congrats Heidi!
Job Opportunities
The Ecology Center is hiring to fill two positions in our Food & Farming Program. Click the titles to read more about the opportunities below:
Support healthy food access at California farmers’ markets, including the Market Match Program, the Farmers’ Market EBT Project, and the Farmers’ Market Finder Tool, and support program efforts to advance CalFresh/SNAP access and healthy food incentives nationally in a farm-direct setting.
Coordinate the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets (the Alliance) and support program efforts to advance CalFresh/SNAP access and healthy food incentives nationally in a farm-direct setting.
Farmers' Market Access and Equity Program | Ecology Center
(510) 925-4001 | |