It’s Health Bucks season again in New York!

Dr. Thomas Farley, New York The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA), last week launched the 2011 Health Bucks season at farmers’ markets across the city. Health Bucks are $2 coupons redeemable for fresh fruit and vegetables at participating farmers’ markets.

A customer receives the coupon for every $5 spent using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to purchase food at a farmers’ market.

Health Bucks, which began as a pilot program in the Bronx in 2005 has expanded each year and today is available at 65 participating markets located in all five boroughs, helping more families eat healthier.

In 2010, approximately 89 percent of Health Bucks distributed to customers with EBT cards were used to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.

“We want all New Yorkers to be able to take advantage of farmers’ markets and have access to nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables,” said City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

“Health Bucks make fruits and vegetables more affordable and bring people to the farmers’ markets, where many spend some of their own money to buy these healthy items. This program is a direct way to help people get the best foods and prevent health problems ranging from heart disease to cancer.”

“Health Bucks is an excellent program that helps New Yorkers save money while promoting a healthier diet,” said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. “Individuals and families receiving food stamps should take advantage of Health Bucks’ savings and shop for nutritious food choices by visiting a participating farmers’ market in their neighborhood.”

Health Bucks is a program of the Health Department with the cooperation of HRA, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and community organizations throughout the City.

In addition to being available at participating farmers’ markets, a limited supply of coupons is available through community organizations located in Health Department district public health offices in the South Bronx, North and Central Brooklyn, and East and Central Harlem.

Health Bucks will be available at 65 farmers’ markets throughout the city during the 2011 farmers’ market season from July 1 to Nov. 15.

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