Calling All Farmers!
If you operate a CSA, or if you are thinking of starting one in the wake of the current public health crisis, take note: There is now a way for people using the Oregon Trail Card or SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) to sign up for your CSA at the regular price and up to $200 of the cost will be covered by Double Up Food Bucks!
This means that you can make your CSA shares available to more Oregonians and help low income folks across the state get set up to have a weekly flow of fresh, locally produced food. According to the Department of Human Services, as of February 2020 almost 14% of Oregonians use SNAP benefits. No doubt, these are your neighbors and friends. It is especially important to make your CSA as accessible as possible during the COVID-19 crisis because the inherent inequity in our current food system means low income and underrepresented groups feel the brunt of this pandemic far more severely.
Sounds great! How does it work?
Your farm must meet the following criteria:
- You are a member farm of PACSAC (Portland Area CSA Coalition). If you’re not already a member, you’ll need to sign up and become one (info below). Although Portland is in the name, this organization works statewide and the SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) programs are available all over Oregon.
- Your CSA subscribers using this program reside in Oregon.
- You have experience successfully operating a CSA.
- Your CSA is compatible with a fixed payment schedule and the price of a member’s share does not change month-to-month. For example, a “no commitment” CSA where the member decides the week before whether they want to order would not qualify.
- Your CSA provides mainly SNAP-eligible foods.
My farm meets all the above criteria. Does that mean my CSA is eligible for Double Up Food Bucks?
Maybe. Not all CSA’s can accept DUFB. In order to participate in DUFB, through PACSAC, you must meet the following criteria:
- PACSAC processes your SNAP payments. Even if you are already set up to accept SNAP at your farm or through any other means, in order to access DUFB, PACSAC must process the CSA payments for your SNAP customers.
- Over 50% of your CSA is made up of DUFB-eligible food. What food is eligible for DUFB?
- ELIGIBLE: seeds and edible plant starts, any variety of fresh, dried, or frozen whole or cut fruits and vegetables without added sugars, fats, oils, or salt. Includes mushrooms, cut herbs, and dried beans.
- NOT ELIGIBLE: grains, meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, baked goods, prepared foods, fermented foods, salsa, pickles, jams, jellies, honey, cider, or other foods that do not fit into the above guidelines; nonfood items.
How does my farm register with PACSAC?
To register with PACSAC and take advantage of this awesome opportunity for your SNAP customers, visit the For Farmers page on PACSAC’s website. For more information and to get your questions answered, you can also email the PACSAC team at email@example.com.
How do I recruit SNAP customers for my CSA?
This is the fun part! This is a chance to get involved in your community and reach out to find folks who might want to participate in your CSA using SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks. Like any type of marketing or recruitment it is up to you to find these customers, but here are some tips to start:
- Promote on social media: Consider paying for an additional boost to reach people in your area who don’t regularly see your posts.
- Ask your local DHS office and WIC clinic if you can hang posters on their virtual bulletin boards, or for help with outreach
- Reach out to other nonprofits and community groups (like churches, granges, VFWs, service organizations, etc) who work with people in your area and ask if they can distribute your farm’s information to their email list.
- For questions you can’t answer, this site is a helpful guide for customers to get their questions answered.
When should I do this?
The sooner the better! The funds are first come, first served, so the earlier your subscribers sign up, the better the chance you’ll be able to offer DUFB matching for SNAP customers.
This is money that was specifically dedicated by the Oregon Legislature to incentivize SNAP users to join CSAs. If we go through all the funds allotted to the program, it will actually give us a better chance of being funded in the future. Let’s take advantage of the opportunity and feed more people in our communities!
I have more questions, who should I ask?
This is a complex system and there is a lot of nuance and regulation around how these dollars are spent. If you would like to reach out directly to ask questions, please contact PACSAC via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.