Oct 11, 2010

Food Stamps* at Farmer's Markets

Short and sweet semi-rant--

I have been told by several farmer market managers that food stamps at markets really aren't necessary or a good idea because those who receive them aren't likely to want to shop at markets. I have even been told that due to the fact that items sold at markets are higher-priced items that it isn't appropriate to have food stamps (new moniker--SNAP--Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) spent on such higher priced items. (But spending them on higher priced items at Wally World is OK I guess?)


Markets accepting the EBT card (Electronic Benefits Card--like a debit card but for food stamps) will...

1) Allow those who are economically disadvantaged to at least be able to provide healthier food for their children, breaking the cycle of sub-clinical malnutrition in those of lower incomes in our cities.

2) Provide more income for farmers, allowing them to remain farmers.

3) There are many farmers ON SNAP--wouldn't it be nice to allow them to shop where they sell rather than allow them to produce good food but have to buy sub par mass produced food?

4) Funnel federal dollars into the local economy.

Any others? I know that I may have more horses in this race than others as both a farmer that sells at markets and as someone who has been on these programs but surely there are more than four good reasons why this would be a good idea? Please feel free to share your thoughts...

*in the interest of full disclosure--I do not like the food stamps/SNAP program. I am conservative/libertarian enough that I simply do not see this as a role for the federal government. No one asked me, though, other than for a few votes here and there. So while we have the system--as a tax payer can we talk about making best use of our dollars here?

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