Expanding access to the healthy foods available at farmers markets and farm stands for those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been – and continues to be - a USDA priority. For several years now, we’ve provided funding to equip farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with the electronic technology they need to redeem SNAP benefits. The results speak for themselves. In 2008, there were only 753 SNAP-authorized markets and farmers. Today, that number has grown to more than 6,400 – more than eight times the number of SNAP-authorized farmers markets compared to when the Obama Administration first took office.
Recently SNAP updated our dedicated webpage to provide more current information to the ever increasing number of SNAP-authorized farmers markets and direct-marketing farmers participating in, or interested in participating in, the program. The redesigned webpage is now much easier to navigate, with links to key topics grouped and highlighted to streamline the search for information. Prospective farmers markets can now readily find out how they can be authorized to redeem program benefits and whether they qualify for free EBT equipment and about grants available at agencies throughout the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The site also includes a handy map that links to a spreadsheet, showing where SNAP-authorized farmers markets are located nationwide.
Farmers markets are playing a role in providing Americans with access to healthy foods. In a recent USDA study, almost 80 percent of farmers market shoppers mentioned access to high-quality fruits and vegetables as the reason for shopping at a farmers market and 65 percent of market shoppers perceived that fruits and vegetables were fresher at farmers markets than in other stores. Increased participation in SNAP by farmers markets is a win-win: Farmers experience an increase in customers; SNAP clients have better access to fresh and healthy food.
Each year, summer is a particularly welcome season. It’s a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm days and sunshine. And there’s no better place to do that than one of the thousands of farmers markets and farm stands located in communities across America. Visit our updated webpage today to find a SNAP-authorized farmers market near you.