Promotion and education are key to a successful EBT program at your market. Get creative! Build coalitions with community partners and groups targeting low-income consumers. Educate your audience, including your board members and vendors, about the benefits of this program. Funding your program can be essential but challenging. Consider your options and again, be creative. Seek organizations that like community projects where they can see obvious benefits and highlight them. Below are some options and ideas about how to promote, educate and fund your program.
Board Members - After you have researched the options for implementing merchant services at your market, it is important to educate the board members about your new program. For an example of a market board resolution click here.
Vendors - When implementing a SNAP/Merchant Services program in your market, it is important for vendors to have a clear understanding of the program and procedures. For an example of a Farmers Market and vendor agreement for SNAP/Merchant Services program click here.
Customers - Display clear and visible SNAP signage at the market for customers. Customers should be aware of what they can or cannot buy with their SNAP card. Qualified foods are considered to be "foods for the household to eat" such as:
- Breads and cereals
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Meats, fish and poultry
- Dairy products
- Seeds and plants which produce eatable foods
- For a complete list of eligible food items visit the FNS website
It is essential that your market promote this opportunity to the public, especially to the SNAP shoppers. Below we have listed specific avenues you can use to get the word out, as well as examples of promotional materials and additional resources.
SNAP participants have some real and also perceived barriers to shopping at farmers markets. To learn more about these challenges read Barriers to Using Urban Farmers Market: An Investigation of Food Stamp Client's Perception. For additional outreach and nutrition education materials, visit the FNS SNAP informational materials website.
Promotion ideas include:
- Media: television, newsletters, newspaper and radio
- Public organizations (DHS or City/County)
- Local businesses including banks, grocery stores, you name it!
- Flyers, posters, postcards, pamphlets and mailers
- Press release
- Bus magnets
- Newspaper articles and press releases
- Sandwich boards and lawn signs
For additional ideas click here. For additional outreach and nutrition education materials visit FNS SNAP Outreach and Nutrition Education Materials.
If your electronic transactions are being handled by a third party processor, you will incur monthly fees. Common ways to cover these operational costs are through transaction "convenience fees" like an ATM fee or through a percentage of your vendor debit/credit (no transaction fees are permitted on SNAP) sales. However, additional funds can be secured through sponsorships. Look for organizations that want to give back to the community such as banks, service organizations or private businesses, or ask businesses that are directly or indirectly benefiting from the increase in sales. Examples may include farm/farmers market insurance companies or feed stores. Be creative with your requests. Highlight that this program benefits the community, agricultural producers, public health and low-income consumers. Offer to put their logo on any of your promotional materials including a banner that you can hang at your site.