State and Federal Support Opportunities
USDA FNS Support
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has provided multiple rounds of funding to expand the availability of wireless Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment in farmers markets. In Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12), FNS provided $4 million to SNAP State agencies to expand the availability of SNAP EBT equipment in farmers markets not currently participating in SNAP, by providing such equipment and services to eligible markets and direct marketing farmers. States with funds remaining are continuing to offer free SNAP EBT equipment to newly authorized markets and direct marketing farmers (those who became SNAP-authorized on or after November 18, 2011). Contact your State’s SNAP agency or farmers market association to learn more about this opportunity.
The following year (FY13), FNS awarded $4 million to the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP), who were tasked with identifying and recruiting eligible farmers markets and direct marketing farmers to become SNAP-authorized, assisting them through that process, and providing them with equipment. To fulfill these tasks, NAFMNP created the MarketLink system. MarketLink offers smart device technology, used with a mobile application (app) called MobileMarket+. Newly authorized farmers markets and direct marketing farmers can access free equipment through MarketLink.org.
In FY14, the USDA FNS awarded the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) a contract to assist in improving and expanding SNAP at farmers markets nationwide. To fulfill one of the tasks included in the contract, FMC is providing $700,000 in free SNAP EBT equipment and services to farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with existing SNAP-authorization (those who became authorized before November 18, 2011) through this Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program. Eligible markets and farmers can apply for the funding starting February 17, 2015 at www.FMCtoolbox.org.
On May 5, 2015, the USDA FNS announced the availability of grants to enable more farmers markets to serve low-income families. The Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants will range from $15,000 to $250,000 and must be designed to increase SNAP client accessibility and participation at farmers markets, and support the establishment, expansion, and promotion of SNAP EBT services at farmers markets. Eligible applicants include farmers market organizations and associations, non–profit entities, state, local and tribal nations and other organizations engaged in farmers market management. Applications are due June 18, 2015. Grant funds will be awarded in September. View the Request for Applications and more information here.
Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)
This program, administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) since 2006, offers grants up to $100,000. A significant proportion of grantees have used FMPP funds to implement, expand, or promote SNAP EBT at farmers markets in order to meet the program goal of increasing domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products.Learn more about FMPP eligibility, upcoming funding opportunities, and application development resources at www.ams.usda.gov/fmpp, and read selected case studies about FMPP grantees at www.fmpp.farmersmarketcoalition.org.
Additionally, some states have allocated their own resources to help markets gain access to SNAP EBT equipment, cover service and transaction fees, and provide outreach. To see if your state is offering support for SNAP EBT at markets, take a look at FMC’s State by State Resource List. If you have updates to add to this list, send us an email at email@example.com.