Finally Taking SNAP! What took so long?
It has been our intention to take SNAP payments since we began in 2009. Back then taking SNAP at the farmers market was not nearly as convenient as it is now. You needed a telephone line, expensive equipment, and a printer to provide a receipt, not to mention the application process. Thanks to smart phones and farms and farmers markets demanding changes to the technology and restrictions regarding SNAP payments, it is easier than ever.
Many farmers markets take SNAP payments for the entire market. The way it works is SNAP customers pay with their EBT cards at a central location run by market staff and are given wooden tokens in exchange that can be spent like cash at the farmers market stalls. This prevents each individual farm at the market from having to jump through the USDA's hoops to get approved to take SNAP. (Despite the positive changes, there are still a lot of hoops to jump through.) Another major bonus are programs like Fresh Access Bucks (FAB). This is a dollar matching program that doubles SNAP payments so that $1in SNAP is now worth $2 on certain items. Fresh Access Bucks will pay for Florida grown fresh fruits, veggies, edible plants, and seeds for edible plants. Farmers Markets that take SNAP are often part of these regional dollar matching programs. This is SO awesome because it makes the farmers market, which can seem expensive, suddenly very affordable.
We hoped the Tallahassee Farmers Market, where we have sold since 2009, would adopt this model and become a SNAP and FAB market by now. Alas, that has yet to happen. Luckily other markets in Tallahassee including the Frenchtown Farmers Market and the Red Hills Online Market are both SNAP and FAB markets, so SNAP customers can still use their SNAP dollars to buy local food.
With Covid bringing everyone to their knees, laying so much bare, we realized it was time to stop waiting and to start taking SNAP ourselves. We are proud to announce we are now taking SNAP and FAB at the Tallahassee Farmers Market. We hope to influence the market to become a SNAP and FAB market soon so all of the vendors there can participate in taking SNAP and FAB, and so local farmers may feed more people healthy, locally grown food. We're at the market Saturdays 8-noon from October-June. Come say hi!