In search of food that is más fresco, or "more fresh," the University of California, San Diego is administering a program that works to get food stamp recipients to eat more fresh produce.
The $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, invests the money hoping to get recipients to buy more produce at farmers markets or at mobile markets that visit low-income neighborhoods.
Más Fresco is open to residents of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties who are enrolled in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, that provides food stamp benefits.
The goal of the four-year program is to improve diets and overall health by making fresh produce more affordable.
Since Más Fresco began in February 2017, it has enrolled 1,153 participants, who receive an average of $329 a month in food stamps and typically live in households of five or six people, KPCC reports.
Adults from any ethnic background can join, as long as they are willing to shop at a participating Northgate González Market, the Anaheim-based Latino grocery chain that is Más Fresco's retail partner.
For every dollar worth of food stamps enrollees spend on fresh produce in a given month, they receive a one-to-one match — up to $10, $20 or $40 — which they can spend only on more fruits and vegetables, KPCC reports.