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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Using Food Stamps At The Farmers Market

There are roughly 7,000 farmers markets in the U.S. And right now about a quarter are able to process Electronic Benefit Transfers, EBT cards, so that people using food stamps can buy fresh produce and other goods produced by local farmers.

The federal government has allocated $4 million in grants to help more markets buy the equipment needed to handle EBT cards.

Critics say farmers markets are too expensive and won’t attract food stamp recipients. But Sara Cardinale, director of the Abingdon Farmers Market in Abingdon, Virginia, tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young that they’ve seen their sales rise dramatically since becoming the first market in Virginia to accept food stamps.

She says most food stamp users are buying fresh produce, and contrary to popular belief, it is affordable.

“There was a study in the southeast region… that took a sampling of items at the market… And… something like 75 percent of the time, the food was as affordable, or even cheaper than it was at the supermarket,” she said.

The exception, she says, is for pasture raised meat and dairy products which are generally more expensive.

Guest:


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  • ltrout

    So informative and helpful! Thanks for covering this story! 

  • John C

    Is there a way I can find up-to-date information on local farmer’s markets in Massachusetts that accept EBT/SNAP benefits?

    I think I remember hearing once that farmer’s markets in Boston have an interesting doubled value redemption for those benefits, but wondering if some friends of mine who get these benefits can make them go farther…

    • Luciakegan

      The Belmont farmers market doubles snap..

    • Abingdonmarket

       There are some Massachusetts Farmers Markets doubling benefits as partners with Wholesome Wave. You can find links here: http://wholesomewave.org/partners/
      Also, check out the Massachusetts Federation of Farmers Markets website: http://www.massfarmersmarkets.org/FMFM_Main.aspx This link lists markets and their accepted methods of payments.

      • John C

        Awesome resource, thanks! I’ll be forwarding the link :)

  • http://twitter.com/nancyquinn Nancy Quinn

    Would be great if there was a link to farmer’s markets nationwide that do.

  • Guest

    Shame on you, Robin for making so many comments that characterize people on food stamps in a negative way. People in Charlotte, NC who happen to be on food stamps at a time when our unemployment rate is so high aren’t in a monolithic group. By the way, produce at the farmers market is much cheaper than in the grocery stores and people on food stamps are excluded from purchasing food at the farmer’s market with the only resource they have for food purchase.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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