Everybody wants the fresh, local food available at farmers markets, but can everyone shop at your market? Most farmers markets in Oregon accept EBT cards (also called Oregon Trail cards) so that low-income people and families can use their SNAP benefits to make shopping at the market easier and more affordable. Farmers and food-makers benefit as well when they can serve more customers and receive more sales. Your farmers market plays an important role in facilitating this connection by being the point of sale where customers can use their EBT cards and receive tokens to spend on food with vendors at the market.
What does a farmers market need to do to begin accepting SNAP? There are some excellent guides written to walk you through all the considerations and the process to make accepting SNAP at your market possible. OFMA recommends:
A to Z Guide of EBT, Credit & Debit – The Washington State Farmers Market Association put together this comprehensive EBT toolkit. Some of points are specific to their state, but the majority and big picture can be applied to any market.
Implement SNAP/EBT – The Farmers Market Legal Toolkit includes best practices and case studies to help you develop and implement a well-designed SNAP program.
SNAP Guide for Farmers Markets – A good all-around guide to SNAP from the Farmers Market Coalition.
Already read the guides and need more help getting started? OFMA can assist with your EBT authorization application, strategies for choosing EBT equipment, and ideas for managing your SNAP program’s bookkeeping, staffing, and vendor reimbursements. Contact OFMA Programs Manager, Amanda Cross, using this short intake form so that she can learn more about your market’s needs and get in touch with you.
Does your market already accept snap? Wonderful! Many markets in Oregon take it a step further by also offering their SNAP customers a dollar to dollar match up to $10 every time they shop the market. This doubles the SNAP shopper’s purchasing power and the food they can afford to bring home, and again it supports the market’s farmers and food-makers with additional revenue. Markets work hard to make SNAP matching funds available through creative fundraising from their donors, sponsors, and grant writing. In addition, here in Oregon we’re fortunate to have state-wide funding available for markets through Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), a matching program administered by the Farmers Market Fund. If your market already accepts SNAP and would like to begin offering a match as well, start by contacting Farmers Market Fund to ask how your market can apply for DUFB!