California Fruit & Vegetable EBT Pilot Project
AB 1811, Chapter 35, (2018), adds Welfare and Institutions Code 10072.3 and creates the California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Project. The goal of the pilot project is to develop and refine a scalable model for increasing the purchase and consumption of California-grown fresh fruits and vegetables by delivering supplemental benefits to CalFresh recipients in a way that can be easily adopted by USDA FNS (Food and Nutrition Service) authorized retailers of various types, sizes, and locations in the future. The California Department of Social Services EBT, in partnership with CalFresh, Office of Systems Integration (OSI), and California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) will award three grants to non-profit organizations or government agencies to meet this goal.
- Supplemental food benefits will be transferable across any authorized retailer.
- Supplemental food benefits can be accrued, tracked, and redeemed by EBT clients in a seamless, integrated process.
- The state will set a maximum accrual rate.
- There is no expiration date for using the supplemental food benefit; however, these benefits are subject to the CalFresh expungement rules.
- Supplemental food benefits can only be accrued by EBT clients through the purchase of California-grown fresh fruits and vegetables from an authorized retailer.
- Supplemental food benefits can only be redeemed to make eligible food purchases from an authorized retailer.
- The supplemental food benefits mechanism complies with all applicable state and federal laws to ensure privacy and confidentiality.
- Authorized retailers that use EBT-only point-of-sale terminals, such as farmers' markets, and those that use integrated point-of-sale terminals, such as grocery stores, shall be able to integrate the new supplemental benefits mechanism into their existing systems, including the free state-issued hardware provided to certified farmers' markets and farmers.
- The supplemental food benefit mechanism will consist of at least a 1:1 ratio match, to be determined by the State.
The pilots shall run for at least 9 months and a report is due to the legislature no later than January 1, 2022. Dates are flexible and subject to change.
February 2019 – Begin stakeholder meetings
September 2019 – Publish Request for Applications (RFAs)
January 2020 – Award Grants (3)
March 2020 – Project Kick-off
April 2020 – Design and Develop Technical Solutions
July 2020 – Pilots Go Live