It’s no secret: it can often take a lot of money to eat healthy. Anyone who has tried to shop at premium grocers or attempted to buy mostly organic produce can understand this. It can leave you questioning how low-income families can do it! You may not believe it, but the best place to go just may be your local farmers market.
Recently, Dr. Richard Besser hosted a conversation on G+ as a part of the TED-MED series on childhood obesity. Featured in this panel was Don Schwarz, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity in the City of Philadelphia. When asked how to combat the issue of African American and Latino children being exposed to the highest level of unhealthy foods and beverages, he suggested policy change to allow public benefits (like food stamps) to be accepted at farmers markets.
Well, Mr. Health Commissioner, have we got good news for you: They already do!
We have noticed a growing trend in our local farmers markets throughout the country accepting SNAP (or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) just like regular cash. Gone are the days where affordability and accessibility of fresh produce isn’t possible on food stamps. Shopping at your local farmers market is not only better for the environment, but the nutritional quality is higher, and your money can literally go further.
Wholesome Wave Georgia features more than 20 farmers markets that accept SNAP throughout the state, but Forsyth Farmers Market in Savannah, has taken it to another level. They literally give you twice the bang for your buck. This market will match your SNAP dollars thanks to a grant from Wholesome Wave Georgia. Accepting SNAP since 2009, they developed this partnership to ensure that the highest quality produce was perfectly attainable no matter your resources. And is it working?
“Last year, we had the top redemption rates for a single market in the state of Georgia,” says Forsyth Farmers Market co-founder and coordinator Teri Schell.
But if you’re not in the Savannah area, fear not. There are farmers markets that accept SNAP in all 50 States. We found 50 with the best deals!
Alabama: On Double Days, Homegrown Alabama will match dollar-for-dollar up to $25.
Alaska: Alaska Farmers Market Association says to check that the booth you shop at accepts them, too!
Arizona: Hosts a whole list of SNAP-specific gardens.
Arkansas: Featured this week in the Top 10 Fastest Growing Farmers Market states.
California: Almost 400 eligible markets throughout the state!! At least in Los Angeles county, SNAP can be exchanged for market coupons.
Colorado: Colorado State University even hosts a campaign to boost the number of SNAP machines onsite at each market.
Connecticut: See this report and video from the Connecticut Department of Social Services.
Delaware: This list will tell you which do and don’t extend the benefit.
Florida: At least 60 different markets throughout the state accept SNAP benefits.
Georgia: See above for more on Forsyth Farmers Market
Hawaii: GreenWheel Hub partnered with all markets in Oahu and the Main Island.
Idaho: The Capital City Public Market accepts them, too!
Illinois: Illinois farmers markets accredited through the State Department accept Illinois Link Benefits
Indiana: Bloomington DOUBLES your SNAP dollars.
Iowa: Over 7 years ago, the Farm Bureau helped launch the Iowa Wireless Project so more people had the technology to accept SNAP.
Kansas: Kansas farmers markets trade SNAP for market tokens.
Kentucky: Visit Snap to Health.
Louisiana: Crescent City offers a MarketMatch program to double your SNAP dollars.
Maine: Get Real Get Maine has the full list of markets.
Maryland: According to this news article from this week, a quarter of the markets accept SNAP.
Massachusetts: Check the Farmers Market SNAP Initiative.
Michigan: Visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association page for more info.
Minnesota: The City of Minneapolis provides an interactive map to lead you to the markets.
Mississippi: Harvard Law School hosted the Mississippi Delta Project to promote the idea.
Missouri: Some Kansas City markets give you double value “beans + greens.”
Montana: 2-for-1 SNAP deal in Missoula.
Nebraska: University of Nebraska-Lincoln stores the complete guide.
Nevada: A video of Las Vegas market director explaining their SNAP benefits.
New Hampshire: Earn up to $10.00 FREE if you use your EBT card.
New Jersey: West Milford markets accept SNAP as of this week!
New Mexico: Complete guide here.
New York: Use the NY Market Locator.
North Carolina: Visit the Health Department’s website for a full list & shopping tips.
North Dakota: nd.gov has the complete list of eligible markets.
Ohio: Here is the 2014 Ohio SNAP Market Directory.
Oklahoma: A user-friendly brochure walks you through the options.
Oregon: Oregon farmers markets accept SNAP on a 1:1 ratio, and will even match your first $5.00
Pennsylvania: Try the Department of Agriculture’s interactive search tool.
Rhode Island: For every $5.00 you spend, get $2.00 FREE fruits & veggies!
South Carolina: 17 markets listed here accept SNAP.
South Dakota: iGrow makes this possible in South Dakota.
Tennessee: GrowMemphis DOUBLES your SNAP benefits.
Texas: The Texas Tribune reports the number has grown since this 2013 report to over 50 markets.
Utah: Utahns Against Hunger drive this train.
Vermont: Their SNAP is called 3SquaresVT and is accepted everywhere.
Virginia: Inova Health System Foundation matches up to $10 of your SNAP dollars.
Washington: They even give you a farmers market approved debit card!
West Virginia: Markets throughout the state accept benefits, as well as senior farmers market nutrition program benefits.
Wisconsin: The City of Madison ran a MadMarket Double Dollars drive last year, and plans to again.
Wyoming: The Wyoming Business Council has a Farmers Market/SNAP Grant process
For a complete list of all markets throughout throughout all 50 states accepting SNAP, or to have your retail foods store or farmers market become authorized to accept SNAP, you can visit the USDA.
images via snapfreshnashville.org, brandi koskie, kirk ring