A project of SEACOAST EAT LOCAL INC
This project will provide SNAP (food stamp) recipients access to healthy, local food at farmers' markets, and supports small farmers.
Seacoast Eat Local working hard to increase access to fresh, healthy, local food for recipients of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps). Through the establishment of a token redemption program, recipients are now able to use their benefits at Seacoast area farmers’ markets. The initial success of the program has resulted in increased requests from organizations and service agencies, as well as farmers’ market vendors and organizers, to accelerate expansion of the program. With your support, Seacoast Eat Local is eager to offer the program at a larger number of farmers' markets, and broaden access for SNAP recipients.
Until 1993, benefits recipients were able to shop at farmers’ markets using food stamp coupons. With changes to the Federal program, paper food stamps were replaced with a debit-style card employing electronic benefits transfer (EBT) technology. Most farmers’ markets were unable to process EBT, and benefits recipients lost this important point of access to local, healthy food. Our program addresses this problem through the shared use of card service equipment, and a token redemption system; this enables SNAP recipients to exchange specific amounts for tokens that can then be spent at participating farmers’ markets. A card service machine also gives a farmers’ market the opportunity to accept debit cards, further increasing overall income and strengthening sales for participating farmers.
The SNAP/EBT Farmers’ Market Program promotes good public health, economic development, and responsible use of the federal SNAP program in a way that supports local and regional sustainable agriculture. The promotion and use of SNAP dollars at local farmers’ markets expands access to healthy foods resulting in improved health outcomes, and creates new market opportunities for local farmers which helps to support small business development and job creation.
Seacoast Eat Local's mission is to connect consumers with producers of locally grown food, with the belief that a sustainable food system includes access to those of all income levels.
Providing consumers with the ability to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase locally grown foods at farmers’ markets gives benefit recipients access to healthy, local food, stimulates the local economy, and supports small farmers.
For more information about SNAP/EBT at the farmers’ market and a list of approved vendors, please visit www.seacoasteatlocal.org.