Supporting farmers’ markets that accept food stamps

Why this is important: some economists say that every $1 spent in food stamp benefits (now called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) results in twice that in economic activity. And it allows those who could otherwise not afford healthy food enjoy some nutritious options.

Katie Zezima recently wrote in The New York Times that at the end of FY 2008, 34 percent more farmers markets were accepting food stamps — 753 across the U.S. Now that food stamps are processed like debit cards, states and the federal government are partnering more with nonprofits to make food stamp terminals available at farmers’ markets. Admittedly, this is no cheap task. Each terminal costs around $1,100 not counting ongoing associated fees.
But several states are finding the costs worth it, including Colorado, Montana, Iowa, New Jersey, and Maine. These states (and many others) can no longer say that food stamps are used solely by low-income residents – food stamp usage has surged, and those using them include an increasing number of people in the middle class.
Making a case for healthy food options is easy. And food stamp acceptance at farmers’ markets is a step in the right direction.

Read more about the case for food stamps here.

Guest Blogger: Melody Dowell

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