Last week, USDA announced that eligibility for funding granted to increase access to SNAP through wireless technology at farmers markets will be expanded to include farmers. Previously, the funding was only for farmers markets as a whole looking to implement market-wide SNAP systems. The press release from USDA can be found here: “USDA Expands Support for Farmers Markets to Accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits“.
This new development could help expand access to SNAP in markets that do not currently have a market-wide system in place, but there are a few caveats:
- As with the market-wide systems, the funds may only be used to purchase or lease equipment & for wireless service fees.
- The direct marketing farmer must sell products at a market stall within a farmers market that is not currently participating in SNAP.
- The farmer must not have been SNAP-authorized prior to November 18, 2011.
- The farmer must: Provide written assurance that they regularly participate (or will participate) in at least one farmers’ market (1) that is not currently SNAP-authorized and (2) at which no other vendor is SNAP-authorized.
USDA has also released an information sheet on this funding, which can be found here: “Farmers Market Equipment Funds: A Funding Opportunity for Certain Farmers Markets and Direct Marketing Farmers“.
In Maryland, it’s yet to be determined how these funds will be accessed by farmers, as DHR has already closed the proposal process for the market funds. Stay tuned on updates as to whether these funds will be available to Maryland farmers.