SNAP EBT Equipment Program
In 2014, the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) was contracted by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to administer the Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program, which provides funding for new EBT equipment and related service fees to farmers markets and direct marketing farmers (DMFs) who participate in at least one farmers market. When the program closed in November 2017, FMC had approved 1,771 applicants to the Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program; of these, 1,005 were farmers markets and 744 were eligible direct marketing farmers. Applicants came from 48 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and represented both rural and urban market settings. Over 120,000 individual EBT transactions were processed on equipment provided through this program, totaling over $1.3 million in SNAP benefits. By supporting farmers market’s use of a central terminal model, where all EBT transactions are run through a single terminal and customers receive scrip to spend like cash with market vendors, 16,009 farm and non-farm vendors were able to receive direct economic impact from this program through only 892 terminals.
Resources Available Today
Please note the 2017 application site closed on November 21, and USDA FNS anticipates reopening the program in 2018 at a date to be determined. Farmers markets and direct-marketing farmers interested in obtaining equipment through this Program once it reopens in 2018 should email FarmersMarket@fns.usda.gov to be placed onto a wait list.
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.
For information on starting and promoting a SNAP program at your market, please visit our SNAP Guide for Farmers Markets.
The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School (CAFS) partnered with FMC and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) to create the Farmers Market Legal Toolkit– an incredibly helpful and extensive website detailing legal resources and best practice recommendations for Farmers Markets. The website includes information on choosing a business structure, implementing SNAP/EBT and managing risks.
Phone: (202) 650-9085