Release No. 0346.10
Michael Jarvis 202-690-3816
USDA Releases Guide to Expand SNAP
Benefit Electronic Benefit Technology at Farmers Markets
ASHEVILLE, N.C., June 26, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
today released the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at Farmers
Markets: A How-To Handbook. The handbook provides the managers of farmers
markets with a step-by-step guide to installing Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)
machines and accepting SNAP benefits. Agriculture Under Secretary for Marketing
and Regulatory Programs Edward M. Avalos made the national announcement at the
Asheville City Market.
"It is important for people throughout the country to have access to fresh
fruits and vegetables and by promoting SNAP EBT's at farmers markets, we are
accomplishing that goal while providing more economic opportunity for America's
farmers and ranchers," said Avalos. "This new handbook provides critical
information to farmers market managers and spurs economic opportunities for
local producers and I encourage more markets to take advantage of using EBT
The handbook was developed by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), in cooperation with the Project for Public
Spaces. It provides essential guidance for farmers market managers who are
thinking about implementing EBT technology at their market sites to allow them
to accept SNAP benefits (previously known as food stamps). Topics addressed in
the handbook include how to install an EBT machine and how to make the program
work successfully for vendors and customers. The handbook also features a list
of resources, a glossary of important terms, and several case studies from
farmers markets that have successfully implemented EBT technology.
"By welcoming SNAP benefits, farmers markets provide access to fruits and
vegetables and other healthy foods which may not otherwise be easily available,"
said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer
Services. "It is a win-win for both farmers and SNAP recipients."
The number of SNAP recipients is at a historic high. Enhancing the ability of
SNAP recipients to purchase fresh produce at farmers markets and farm stands can
help market vendors realize substantial increases in revenue and increase access
to fresh, healthful food to more American households. The total value of SNAP
redemptions at farmers markets and food stands doubled from $2 million to $4
million between fiscal years 2008 and 2009. Currently, there are more than 1,100
farmers markets and farm stands using EBT machines across the country.
In FY 2009, 946 farmers' markets participated in SNAP. Over the past five
years, the number of farmers markets increased 250 percent. As of May 2, 2010,
there are 1,156 authorized FMs in SNAP. More SNAP benefits were redeemed at
farmers' markets in fiscal year 2009 during October than any other month of the
year. Of the 3,153 counties in the United States, 496 (16%) have at least one
SNAP authorized market.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at Farmers Markets: A How-To
Handbook, is available at:
Find a farmers market near you by visiting USDA's farmers market directory