USDA SNAP Benefits at Farmers Markets is Bridging the Gap to Fresh Food Access

USDA SNAP Benefits at Farmers Markets is Bridging the Gap to Access Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Low-Income Households and Children

ATLANTA, Mar. 3, 2015 – On Friday Feb. 27, 2015, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Georgia State Agencies for Agriculture, MarketLink TM, and Wholesome Wave Georgia hosted a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Merchant Sign-up Day in northwest Atlanta. USDA’s merchant sign-up day and partnership with MarketLinkTM provides a one-stop-shop to help direct marketing farmers get authorized, receive technical support and incentive programs to encourage SNAP customers to shop at local farms and farmers’ markets, and help create a win/win situation for farmers, customers, and local economies.

"Our goal is to give low-income families more access to locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables. Bringing more farmers and farmers markets into the SNAP program will help us reach this goal.” said Erin Swanson-Hall, Southeast’s Deputy Regional Administrator for USDA Food and Nutrition Service. “Approximately 20 cents of every SNAP dollar spent on food goes directly to American farmers. Installing wireless technology that accepts SNAP at area farmers markets expands the customer base for these markets and increases the local share of the SNAP dollar back into the community.”

As of November 2014, there were 75 authorized farmers markets in Georgia. During last Friday’s sign-up event, 12 farmers markets and 23 direct marketing farmers were authorized to accept SNAP benefits. Our sister Agency, USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS), maintains a list of farmers’ markets operating nationwide, at: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/. In addition, FNS will post, monthly, a list of SNAP-authorized markets, at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/fm.htm.