USDA grants to boost food stamp participation at farmers markets

05/14/2012 01:36:00 PM
Tom Karst

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is using $4 million to expand technology at farmers’ markets to increase food stamp participation.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said the department plans to broaden the use of wireless technology in farmers’ markets currently not able to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).

“SNAP participation at farmers’ markets helps provide fresh fruit and vegetables to families and expands the customer base for local farmers — a win-win for agriculture and local communities,” Merrigan said in a news release.

The funding provided by the 2012 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act provides funds for states to provide wireless transaction equipment to farmers’ markets currently not part of SNAP.

Of the more than 7,000 farmers’ markets in the U.S., the agency said about 1,500 use wireless transaction technology.

Since 2008, the agency said SNAP expenditures at farmers’ markets have grown by 400%.



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