September 24, 2020

Farmers Markets Accepting Food Stamps

“In a nation wide push to improve the health and well being of Americans, a growing number of farmers markets are accepting EBT/SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the federally funded program to which low income families and individuals can apply and receive money for certain foods and beverages. In recent years SNAP has been heavily criticized for the lack of healthy foods available to be purchased by the families on it.. The money is dispensed to an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that is accepted at most grocery stores, a process which requires a card reader and extensive electronic or wireless connections – luxuries that are not readily available at in the local market atmosphere.

Farmers Markets Accepting Food Stamps

Many local organizations are assisting their towns with implementing their own solutions. In California The Ecology Center, an organization that works in urban development has worked with the USDA to create a general point of sale, where EBT customers can visit to scan their card and receive certificates, which they could in turn use to purchase goods from vendors at the farmers market.

Minnesota has a plan similar to that in California, with the help of state grants, by the end of 2011, thirteen farmers markets will accept EBT. Shoppers using SNAP can swipe their card and receive red tokens in the amount of one dollar apiece. These tokens can be used to purchase fresh produce, vegetables, fruit seeds, and plants. The tokens can not be redeemed for cash and vendor will cash in the tokens with the city.

California and Minnesota are not alone in taking initiative in improving the choices available through SNAP. Expanding the program to include healthier options is a priority on the national level as well. This is evident in President Obama’s proposed budget for 2012, in which four million dollars will be dedicated to funding card readers for farmers markets.

However, it is not enough to have the markets accept EBT cards, people need to know the option is available. In Utah, a token program akin to Minnesota’s, has been around for a few years but with relatively low participants. New York has developed a plan to draw EBT shoppers into the cities 65 farmers markets. For every five dollars spent using food stamps, shoppers will receive a two dollar coupon. The Healthy Bucks program has been very successful and participation grows every year. New York stands as a perfect example of how to educate people about the new options available and entice them into the markets.”

Additional information at:

City farmers markets offer food-stamp bonus

Food Stamps Accepted At Farmers Markets

Private Charity Doubles Food Stamp Value At Farmers Markets

More farmers markets take food stamps

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