Produce Perks is a nutrition incentive program that was developed by partners of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition (FPC) in 2010. The program is administered locally by Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga County. Produce Perks is now Ohio’s statewide nutrition incentive program guided by the Ohio Nutrition Incentive Network (OH-NIN). Nutrition incentive programs are evidence-based models supported by the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. Produce Perks offers (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (SNAP) customers a dollar-for-dollar match, doubling their purchasing power at participating farmers’ markets, farm stands, CSA’s, and mobile markets. For every dollar a SNAP customer spends at participating sites using an Ohio Direction Card they receive a free additional dollar, referred to as a “Produce Perk,” that can be used to purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception over $1 million dollars have been funneled into the pockets of small to mid-sized farms.
The WIC Perks program is an expansion of the Produce Perks nutrition incentive program in Cuyahoga County to serve families receiving Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons. The WIC Perks program is a partnership between Ohio State University Extension Cuyahoga County, Cuyahoga County Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program*, and local farmers’ markets to collaboratively leverage resources to offer additional services to WIC clients at select WIC FMNP distribution dates. After families receive WIC/FMNP coupons on select distribution dates, they have the option to engage in a short cooking demonstration, taste testing, or educational activity. In exchange for their participation, families received an additional set of coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables valued at $20 and relevant culinary tools. Since 2019, the program has served 1,527 families, providing them with $30,540 worth of coupons to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs at local farmers' markets in addition to the WIC FMNP coupons they received.