August 17, 2020
Note: This photo was taken pre-pandemic.
Talking About Food Justice
The Farmers’ Market Access and Equity Team and staff of Berkeley Farmers’ Markets recently met together to discuss two articles about the relationship between the alternative food system (primarily through farmers’ markets) and structural racism: “Whiteness and FMs: Performances, Perpetuations . . . Contestations?” by Alkon & McCullen and “4 Not-So-Easy Ways to Dismantle Racism in the Food System” by Leah Penniman. The first article, originally published in 2010, examines how farmers’ markets can be coded as white-only spaces and offers ways for farmers’ markets to employ anti-racist practices. Penniman’s article digs into the specific examples of how racism has influenced the food system’s history and present. 

Berkeley Farmers’ Market staff discussed the issues of structural racism examined in the articles in connection to the experience of staffing our own markets.

Are our farmers’ markets meeting the needs and interests of people of color and low income people?

While we are very proud of the Market Match program offering incentives to low income CalFresh shoppers, staff members also recognized that making a trip to the farmers’ market is still cost prohibitive for many community members. Not everyone can “buy local” or “vote with their dollar” for an alternative food system that supports many regional small and mid-sized farms.

Staff members considered elevating other avenues to support an alternative food system -- like highlighting farmworkers’ contributions to farmers’ markets beyond just focusing on the farmer, supporting farmworker rights, and recognizing and supporting reparations for past injustices like USDA’s racially discriminatory lending practices which specifically hurt Black farmers.

Amidst a busy farmers’ market staff schedule that is only getting busier, this discussion and the reflection it generated was meaningful to staff members. As part of a monthly reading and discussion series, it is one way we are committing to learn and incorporate racial justice into our work.
Welcome New Market Match Partners!
We are very excited to welcome seven new partners, who have begun offering Market Match at nine different sites across the state.
Rialto, San Bernardino County
Established in 2012, the Rialto Certified Farmers’ Market is dedicated to supporting farmers and community development projects designed to serve its community and address health related issues; such as healthy eating and healthy activities for families. CalFresh EBT cardholders have been able to use their benefits to purchase fresh produce at the market since 2014, thereby helping fight against issues of food insecurity, hunger, and poor nutrition. With the City of Rialto’s combination of senior programs, fitness and nutrition classes, and now Market Match, they seek to reduce disparity and increase equity amongst residents of all income levels.
Cedarville & Alturas
Modoc County
Napa County
Santa Barbara County
San Andreas & Murphys
Calaveras County
San Bernardino County
Paso Robles
San Luis Obispo County
Responding to Community Needs in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, many farmers’ markets temporarily closed in March and April due to a county-wide mandate.  Valeria Velazquez Dueñas, Senior Manager of Farmers’ Markets Programs at Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), said that, ‘it was a precarious 4-weeks as far as our food insecurity issues go”. Additionally, SEE-LA’s farm vendors took a financial hit while their primary marketplace, the farmers’ market, was suspended. 

SEE-LA quickly gathered their partners and joined with food relief organizations to create a farm box distribution program. Over several weeks, they purchased produce from their farm vendors, packaged, and distributed over 30,000 farm fresh boxes valued at $35 to households and families in South Los Angeles. SEE-LA recently received funding from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation through coalition South LA Forward to continue addressing urgent community needs on the ground. We’re inspired by SEE-LA’s innovation and response to the pandemic.
Calling all Farmers'
Markets, Farm Stands, CSAs, and Mobile Markets!
The Ecology Center has funding in 2020 to provide technical assistance and resources to farmers’ markets and other farm-direct outlets wishing to add CalFresh EBT access at their locations.
Why add CalFresh EBT?
Adding CalFresh EBT access to your market means new customers and more income for farmers and other vendors selling there. When you add CalFresh EBT access to your farmers’ market, it opens up California’s $6.7 billion in CalFresh food dollars to YOUR farmers. 

Adding CalFresh EBT access to your market sends a powerful message that all people, of all incomes, are welcome. With SNAP covering one in eight Americans, people in your community likely receive CalFresh. 
We can assist with: 

  • The Food and Nutrition Service application, which is required to be able to accept CalFresh EBT 

  • Obtaining a wireless Point of Sale device (FREE for certified farmers’ markets and farmers)

  • Ordering and purchasing scrip (as funding allows)

  • Bookkeeping and accounting tools 

  • Market staffing and redemption models 

  • Print-ready outreach materials and press release templates 

  • FREE at-market signage 

  • Listing on the Farmers’ Market Finder ( 

  • Incentive programs like Market Match 
This program is funded in part through a Kaiser Permanente NorCal Community Benefits Program Grant.

Call or email us today to get assistance with adding EBT access to your farmers’ market! 510-925-4001,
Customers can get more fruits and vegetables with P-EBT
Pandemic-EBT (or P-EBT) is eligible for Market Match at participating farmers’ markets (one match per P-EBT or CalFresh card per household per day).
Children receiving free and reduced-price lunch in California were eligible to receive additional food benefits this year. P-EBT food benefits are good for one year from receipt. The application closed on July 15, 2020. 

For more information about P-EBT, please refer to this FAQ from California Food Policy Advocates.
Farmers' Market Access and Equity Program | Ecology Center
(510) 925-4001 | |