CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets

Recipients of CalFresh assistance can use their benefits at farmers’ markets thanks to Alchemist CDC!

Overview of how to use CalFresh at a farmers' market: 1. Swipe your EBT card at the CalFresh booth. 2. Get your CalFresh and Market Match vouchers. 3. Buy fresh and affordable produce directly from farmers

What is CalFresh?

CalFresh is the name in California for the federal program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Formerly known as “food stamps”, SNAP/CalFresh loads nutrition benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transer (EBT) card which is used just like a debit card but with special machines. SNAP is the most important anti-hunger program in the United States and CalFresh provides qualifying individuals financial assistance in purchasing food for themselves and their families. 

Farmers’ markets are an incredible gift to any community. They provide easy access to delicious local food and a festive atmosphere where neighbors can meet and see one another each week.

We work to make sure that farmers’ markets are truly accessible for everyone in a community. We do this by providing CalFresh access so that residents who receive nutrition benefits can spend them at the farmers’ market just like at the grocery store.

How does it work?

We operate a single CalFresh booth at farmers’ markets where CalFresh customers can swipe their EBT card and choose how much they want to take from their account. If they want $20 to spend at the market, those $20 are debited from their EBT account and turned into $20 worth of market scrip, which can be spent just like cash on groceries and vegetable seedlings with any market vendor who participates. At most markets, customers can also receive additional incentives of up to $15 per market, per day to spend on fruits and vegetables. This helps make fresh local produce as affordable as the produce at discount grocers.

We rely on a dedicated team of staff and volunteers to operate this program at 8 farmers’ markets across Sacramento County.  

For information on CalFresh benefits, click here.



To find participating farmers’ markets and farm stands in Sacramento and Yolo Counties, you can use our Map Tool or Sortable Table.

To find participating markets statewide, visit Ecology Center’s FMFinder.

Our Market Data 2023: January – December

CalFresh/EBT Distributed

Market Match Distributed


Facts and Figures

In 2023, Alchemists CDC distributed $1,105,090 in combined CalFresh and Market Match at the eight markets we directly serve! Another $287,519 in CalFresh and Market Match was used at partner farmers’ markets and farm stands in the region.

A UC Davis study estimates that every dollar spent at a farmers’ market in our region generates $1.86 in total community spending. Therefore, in 2023, our program helped generate over $2.59 million in extra local economic activity for the Sacramento region!

In the United States in 2023, the eight markets directly served by Alchemist CDC represented just .23% of farmers’ markets participating in the SNAP/EBT/CalFresh program but accounted for 1.5% of all SNAP spent at all farmers’ markets nationwide! In fact, these markets accounted for 2.3% of all SNAP transactions at farmers’ markets in the US.  This means our partner markets have 10x the average national SNAP activity for farmers’ markets! (Source: 2023 Year End Summary at )

Since it’s inception in late 2011, this program has demonstrated remarkable growth.

Bar charts showing CalFresh and Market Match usage in dollar amount and number of customer transaction from 2015 to 2023, with remarkable growth over time.

Program Sponsors

Sacramento County logo
City of Sacramento Logo

Program Partners

Certified Farmers Markets of Sacramento County
Midtown Association
Downtown Sacramento Partnership