Farmers Market Coalition & Community Food Security Coalition Launch Program to Expand EBT Usage at Farmers Market
Posted On: July 15, 2009
Goal to Increase Access to Fresh Healthy Food for EBT/SNAP users
For Immediate Release
July 15, 2009
Contact: Andy Fisher, Community Food Security Coalition
Stacy Miller, Farmers Market Coalition
The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) announce a partnership program to increase EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) use, access, and improvements at the nearly 4,800 farmers markets around the country.
EBT is a specialized debit technology used for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) purchases. Instead of paper vouchers, EBT processes SNAP payments electronically via electronic wired or wireless terminal. Currently, not all farmers markets have working terminals, electricity, or the other support required to process EBT payments effectively, thereby restricting shopping opportunities at farmers market for shoppers using SNAP benefits, and eliminating farmer access to EBT sales. According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, approximately 750 of the thousands of farmers markets registered with the USDA, or less than 16%, were equipped to accept SNAP benefits in 2008.
The initiative will create a comprehensive plan for the expansion of EBT/SNAP at farmers markets. The year-long project will review current EBT usage at farmers markets, investigate barriers to EBT availability at farmers markets, and make policy recommendations as to how to improve EBT usage at farmers markets.
“Many people who rely on EBT cards for their food purchases also live in communities with disproportionately high rates of chronic health conditions resulting in part from inadequate access to fresh healthy food” says Stacy Miller, Executive Director of FMC. “Addressing the barriers to EBT acceptance and redemption at farmers markets will improve this access while increasing the financial viability of diversified family farmers.”
“As part of the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress allocated $3 million to improve EBT usage at farmers market over the next five years,” says Andy Fisher, Executive Director of CFSC. “Our program will complement that spending by connecting market managers, policy advisors, public leaders, anti hunger advocates, and others to develop a common vision and appropriate strategies to effectively increase EBT usage at farmers markets across the country.”
This year-long initiative is made possible with support from the Convergence Partnership Fund of the Tides Foundation.
About the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC): Founded in 1994, the Community Food Security Coalition (www.foodsecurity.org) cultivates food systems that are healthy, sustainable, just, and democratic by building community voice and capacity for change. With over 300 organizational members, CFSC operates programs in federal policy advocacy, training and technical assistance, farm to cafeteria, and a national conference.
About the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC): The Farmers Market Coalition (www.farmersmarketcoalition.org) is dedicated to strengthening farmers markets for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and communities. Through education, networking, and advocacy, the Farmers Market Coalition builds leadership and capacity for farmers markets and the organizations that support them.