SNAP Stretch, a program that matches SNAP benefits spent at participating markets to increase fruit and vegetable affordability and access, increases consumption of healthy foods among low-income households, boosts sales at local farmers markets, and benefits our broader economy. A $1 million state investment in SNAP Stretch could have a $2.84 million economic benefit to the state’s economy by pulling down federal SNAP dollars and increasing local economic activity both in and beyond the food industry.
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- SNAP dollars act as stimulus for the economy, responding automatically to economic downturns and circulating money into local economies quickly as families experience hardship. These benefits go beyond the food industry as SNAP dollars multiply well beyond SNAP recipients, grocers, and retailers.
- The origins of the SNAP program had dual purposes: feeding hungry families and providing a market for farmers to sell excess domestic produce to.
- When customers purchase goods at locally-owned businesses, three times more money stays and recirculates in the local economy than when a purchase is made at a non-local chain store.
- SNAP incentive programs increase the buying power of SNAP to make the purchase of local fruits and vegetables more affordable for low-income households.
- SNAP Stretch, West Virginia’s SNAP incentive program, served nearly36,000 households in 2021 and was accepted at 40 markets in 35 counties.
- In West Virginia, SNAP Stretch dollars have increased sales and income for local markets and farmers, allowing some to expand production and increase wages for their employees.
- In one study, three-fourths of farmers participating in a SNAP incentive program reported making more money and 38.6 percent reported “increasing the scope of their operations by planting more acres, buying equipment, building greenhouses or hoop houses, or hiring more workers.”