"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.

Over the years the emphasis of the FreshConnect Program has evolved. For 2015 the emphasis will be 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 will be geared toward encouraging participants in SNAP to use their benefits to purchase weekly shares of local produce.

Another initiative of the FreshConnect Program is the creation and implementation of a Market Manger Certification Program. This program is a cooperative effort between the Farmers Market Federation of New York, SUNY Cobleskill and Cornell Cooperative Extension that will result in an intensive 3 day training regimen in the fall of 2015 and the creation of online training modules to facilitate the future training of market managers.

This year the FreshConnect Check Program has been expanded in terms of the volume of checks available and extended to operate year round at markets with this capacity. The FreshConnect Checks provide a $2.00 incentive check for every $5.00 of SNAP benefit used at participating markets thereby increasing the purchasing power of SNAP consumers by 40 percent while supporting local farmers. Checks will be available starting July 1 at participating markets shown on the accompanying map on this website.

Following on a pilot program from 2104 FreshConnect Checks will again be available to veterans, Servicemembers, and their immediate family members at county Veterans Affairs offices on a first come –first served basis to be used to purchase fresh foods at local farmers markets.

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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