April 19, 2024

More Farmers Markets Going Wireless With SNAP Benefits

In an effort to expand access to healthy foods for recipients who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be using $4 million to put wireless point-of-sale equipment at farmers markets that don’t have them. Funding for the expansion came from the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012.

Farmers Market“These grants increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to SNAP customers and further encourage them to purchase and prepare healthy foods for their families using SNAP benefits,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon, in a statement. “In general, research shows that about 20 cents of every SNAP dollar spent on food ends up in the pocket of American farmers. Installing wireless technology at farmers markets expands the customer base for markets and increases the share of the SNAP dollar that goes directly back to local farmers and into local economies.”

Between 2008 and 2012, wireless SNAP processing at farmers markets quadrupled leading to six-fold increase in SNAP redemptions at farmers markets. According to the USDA, research has shown that farmers markets want the ability to electronically accept SNAP benefits, but cited equipment as a barrier. Framers markets that are interested in learning more about funding can contact their SNAP State agency or visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/fm.htm.

SNAP is the largets of 15 nutrition assistance programs that the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service oversees.  In 2012, 22 million households participated in SNAP. Nearly half of all those receiving benefits are children.

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