EBT Cards Expand at Virginia's Farmers' Markets

By: Josh Knight Email
By: Josh Knight Email

This year, more low-income families will have access to locally grown, healthy food at farmers' markets around Virginia.

Through a program with the Virginia Department of Social Services, people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP that was formally known as food stamps, will be able to use Electronic Benefits Transfer cards at the farmers' markets.

According to VDSS almost one out of every seven Virginians received SNAP benefits at some point during 2010.

The Harrisonburg Farmers' Market actually started accepting EBT cards for SNAP qualifiers in June 2010.

Organizers say the response has been tremendous and it is important for all people in the community to have access to the healthy, local options.

"I had one woman this summer come by with her SNAP card and it was just a really touching conversation. She was telling me about how she's been wanting to shop at the market for as long as she can remember and now she finally can," says Josie Showalter, the Harrisonburg Farmers' Market Manger.

Through a Wholesome Wave Grant, the Harrisonburg Farmers' Market also matches up to $10 in purchases for those using their EBT cards.

Markets around Virginia will have the opportunity to apply to partake in the program by applying for a wireless point-of-sale device.

Showalter says, from June 2010 through September 2010, the response increased every month.

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