How people spend their food-stamp dollars in Sacramento

Most of the money goes to grocery stores, very little goes to farmers markets

Where and how do Sacramentans spend their food-stamp dollars?

The California Department of Social Services released statistics to SN&R recently outlining the types of establishments in which Sacramento County residents, and Californians in general, spend their CalFresh dollars.

From June 1, 2012, to May 31, 2013, county residents redeemed a little more than $360 million in Electronic Benefit Transfer—or EBT—dollars, with 95.3 percent of this money going to grocery stores, 4.6 percent to convenience stores, .04 to restaurant-meal programs and just .03 percent to farmers markets.

This breakdown is largely similar to the averages brought in by all of California, whose residents redeemed more than $7.2 billion dollars in that time frame.

The restaurant-meals program for the state came in at almost 17 times the rate of Sacramento. This program is only offered to homeless, elderly and disabled benefit recipients, and eligibility varies by county.

While the state farmers-market rate comes in a shave higher than Sac County, recent numbers may suggest some headway for the region. County farmers markets in 2012 processed $72,498 in CalFresh sales, while the most recent 12-month time frame shows $115,567 in transactions.