Food Commission Discusses Bringing SNAP Benefits to Farmers’ Markets
Commission members say one of the biggest challenges is getting connected
FARGO, N.D. — The Cass Clay Food Commission met to discuss how federal nutrition programs, like SNAP, which used to be called food stamps, could be used at farmers’ markets.
“The SNAP participant being able to go to a farmers’ market and being able to participate in that community. It’s inclusivity of people who are lower income, and who often are left out, especially of fresh and local foods because it’s perceived they’re too expensive for them to afford out of pocket,” Mary Larson, a public health professor at NDSU, said.
Not every farmers’ market accepts SNAP benefits, but the commission wants to change that.
SNAP also has a “double bucks” program, where recipients can get a dollar–for–dollar match at the market.
“It’s something quite common all over the country. More and more markets are moving towards that. Cities and states are providing extra funding to double the dollars of participants in these programs,” Whitney Oxendahl, a researcher with the food commission, said.
Those on the commission say one of the biggest challenges for farmers markets is getting connected with the program.
Moorhead Presbyterian Church and Moorhead Parks and Recreation teamed up to create a partnership to help streamline the process of getting farmers’ markets registered with the SNAP program.
“I’m excited to see this work and maybe be a model for others within our community and across the country,” Larson said.
Currently, over 450,000 people in Minnesota and 54,000 in North Dakota are on SNAP.