USDA Rural Development (RD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff planted the first public “Peoples Garden” in New York State last week. Read more »
The Colorado Farmers Market Association, the City Heights Open Air & Certified Farmers Market in San Diego, Calif. and Greenmarket in New York City did it with help of the Farmers Market Promotion Program. The Athens Farmers Market in Athens, Ohio was among the first market in Ohio to do it and Detroit’s Eastern Market is seeing record-breaking sales now that they have joined the program.
These farmers markets are among the more than 1,100 farmers markets and farm stands that have implemented the Electronic Benefits Transfer system and now accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at their markets.
Implementing a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at farmers markets can sometimes feel overwhelming. To make it easier, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), in collaboration with the non-profit Project for Public Spaces, has just released “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at Farmers Market: A How-To Handbook” .
The Handbook provides essential guidance for farmers market managers installing an Electronic Benefits Transfer machine and advice for making the program work successfully for vendors and customers. It also features a list of resources, a glossary of important terms, and several case studies from farmers markets that have successfully implemented an Electronic Benefits Technology system. This Handbook is part of the USDA’s commitment to building more direct market opportunities for producers, expanding both of these benefits at farmers markets, and addressing food deserts, especially those in low-income areas.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is not the only food assistance program welcomed at farmers markets. Customers can take advantage of the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, a voucher program specifically for low-income seniors. Families qualifying for the Women, Infants and Children Program can use those benefits at farmers markets across the country as well. For those customers on the lookout for a farmers market that welcomes these benefits, the USDA Farmers Market Directory has a comprehensive list.
SNAP at Farmers Markets Handbook
Last week in the north central rural community of Trenton, Missouri, I observed the true spirit of the theme of the 2010 National Home Ownership month – Protecting the Dream. It was the gathering of 150 volunteer youth from six different states representing seven churches providing labor for repairs to 15 houses. Read more »