USDA announces grants to enable more farmers’ markets to serve low-income families

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USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced the availability of up to $3.3 million in competitive funding to support the ability of farmers markets to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (CalFresh in California). These awards will help expand access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods found at farmers markets, while supporting our nation’s farmers and producers.

“We have seen an unprecedented growth in the number of farmers markets accepting SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards in the past six years,” said Concannon. “These awards support the markets that may need administrative help in implementing and managing EBT service and informing customers that they can use their SNAP benefits at farmers markets.”

There are now more than 6,200 farmers markets and direct marketing farmers authorized to accept SNAP nationwide – an eightfold increase since the beginning of the Obama administration. In fiscal year 2014, approximately $18.7 million in SNAP benefits were used at farmers markets, an increase of 7.5 percent over 2013. Increasing the number of SNAP authorized farmers markets is part of USDA’s ongoing mission to support recipients in making healthy food choices.

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. For further information about the grant application, visit www.grants.gov.

Link to news release

 

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One Response to USDA announces grants to enable more farmers’ markets to serve low-income families

  1. sms says:

    This is a good first step in helping lower income families access more nutritious foods. Another step that is just as important is making sure the families that can benefit from this service have a way to get to the farmer’s markets. Too frequently, lower income families live in “food deserts” sections of town and cities with few grocery stores to serve them. Too frequently, these same families do not have a way (either a vehicle or bus service) to get to a fully stocked grocery store or farmer’s market. While it is mentioned in the article that the grants available must be designed in a way for clients to take advantage of the services offered by farmer’s markets, the need for access to the markets, as well as the markets accepting SNAP and Calfresh benefits can not be emphasized enough.

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