"A win-win situation for farmers and for families across the state as we try to provide more access and easier access to locally grown, fresh farm products."
- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

About FreshConnect

Almost 1.5 million New Yorkers live in areas with limited supermarket access. Expanding access to fresh food in underserved communities improves the diets of individuals in those communities while fostering economic development. Governor Cuomo launched the FreshConnect Program in 2011 to create new farmers’ markets and support existing markets that provide outlets for fresh food in high need neighborhoods.

Every year the FreshConnect Checks Program has expanded in terms of the volume of checks available, and beginning on January 1, 2016 was extended to operate as a year round program at markets with this capacity. Since inception, the FreshConnect Checks Program has provided a $2.00 incentive coupon for every $5.00 of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit used at participating markets thereby increasing the purchasing power of SNAP consumers by 40 percent while supporting local farmers. Starting in 2014 FreshConnect Checks were made available to Veterans’, Servicemembers and their immediate family members at county Division of Veterans’ Affairs offices on a first come, first served basis to be used to purchase fresh foods at participating farmers markets.

Over the years the emphasis of the FreshConnect Program has evolved. In 2017 the emphasis will be to continue to increase support overall, which includes doubling the size of the program serving Veterans’, Servicemembers and their immediate family members. In 2015 the emphasis was on the launch of a food box program to build the capacity of local organizations to provide weekly shares of fruits and vegetables to low income individuals in neighborhoods with limited access to this produce. The food box outlets are geared toward encouraging participants in the SNAP to use their benefits to purchase weekly shares of local produce.

Another initiative of the FreshConnect Program was the creation and implementation of a Farmers Market Manger Certification Program (FMMPRO). This program is a cooperative effort between the Farmers Market Federation of New York, SUNY Cobleskill and Cornell Cooperative Extension. The valuable training provided will help market managers obtain the tools and resources they need to successfully operate and grow their markets. On January 6, 2017 the program celebrated the graduation of their first certified market manager.

News and Announcements

July 1, 2015 Issuance and use of FreshConnect Checks at EBT/SNAP sites begins

November 10-12, 2015 Market Manager Certification Program at Cobleskill

November 30, 2015 Last day to use Farmers Market Nutrition Program Checks

December 15, 2015 Last day for farmers to deposit/cash FMNP checks

January 15, 2016 Last day for vendors to send in 2015 FreshConnect Checks for redemption

May 6, 2016 Governor Cuomo Announces $500,000 FreshConnect Food Box Program in the Finger Lakes and New York City

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