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C-U farmers markets now have a Universal LINK Match Program

The Universal LINK Match Program is part of LINK Up Illinois, a SNAP incentive program. The Land Connection, City of Urbana, and Common Ground Food Co-op are partnering to help those who use LINK benefits have increased access to fresh, local food. The program also means more money is going to local farmers and food producers. 

Here’s how it works, per the press release:

Now, when a shopper swipes their LINK card at one of the farmers markets, they will receive market tokens to spend on any SNAP-eligible products at any of the three markets, plus, match vouchers that they can use to purchase local fruits and vegetables at any of the local markets and at Common Ground Food Co-op.

As part of the Universal LINK Match Program, each market will offer Double LINK incentives up to $20 on regular market days. Shoppers can bring their LINK card to the market information tables where they can swipe for any amount. They will receive the value of their swipe in Market tokens that they can use to purchase any SNAP-eligible items at the markets, and they’ll receive up to $20 in LINK Match vouchers that they can use to purchase local, fresh fruits and vegetables from vendors at any of the markets or Common Ground Food Co-op. For example, if a shopper swiped for $10, they’d receive $10 in tokens and $10 in vouchers, whereas if they swiped for $30, they’d receive $30 in tokens and $20 in vouchers.

On the third market of each month, all three farmers markets offer Triple LINK incentives up to $20. That means a shopper that swiped $20 at the market table would receive $20 in tokens and $40 in vouchers to use, effectively tripling the value of their food dollar. The Triple LINK days have been a part of the Champaign Farmers Market’s LINK Match program for several years and recently became part of the Champaign-Urbana Winter Farmers Market in November when The Land Connection took over operations of the Market. Now Triple LINK will be available at both of those markets, as well as Urbana’s Market at the Square.

Top photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Staff writer

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