A new $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more accessible at the nations’ farmers markets. The USDA grant will enable farmers markets to install wireless technology to allow SNAP participants to use an electronic payment system.
“Our country’s 7,100 operating farmers markets offer opportunities to our children and their families to access healthy food across the country,” Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan said. “SNAP participation at farmers markets helps provide fresh fruit and vegetables to families and expands the customer base for local farmers—a win-win for agriculture and local communities.”
Currently, more than 1,500 farmers markets have electronic payment capabilities. The USDA grant aims to expand that access to increase SNAP participants’ opportunities to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods from local farmers and ranchers.
“This funding will help SNAP customers increase their opportunities to access healthy, local foods,” Merrigan added. “And evidence suggests they will take advantage of that access. When we couple this approach with strategies like the education, cooking demonstrations and community support often found at farmers markets, consumption of healthy foods should rise even more.”