The Texas Center for Local Food this month announced a new project to promote the use of SNAP benefits at farmers markets in Texas.
SNAP benefit recipients can use their SNAP cards to buy fresh, local food at farmers markets. But many recipients don’t know that – and farmers markets face multiple hurdles to accepting SNAP.
In FY2020, Texas ranked 47th out of the 50 US states in SNAP sales at farmers markets. “Farmers markets are a critical link in the local food system, and lower-income families have access to fresh, local food — but too many don’t know it — yet!” said Sue Beckwith, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Local Food. Our new project will get more Texas-grown, farm fresh produce onto SNAP recipients’ tables.”
Promotion alone won’t increase sales to SNAP recipients. Farmers markets also need help setting up and using the equipment for SNAP processing. “The equipment required to process SNAP is different from normal card processing equipment. It requires its own setup and specialized training,” said Susie Marshall, Executive Director of Grow North Texas, a SNAP-ED project partner. “We provide technical assistance to help farmers markets adopt and use the equipment.”
family shopping at farmers market
Digital images are free for non-commercial, non-profit use. They are provided by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The 1-year grant of $439,951 is awarded and administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission using funds allocated to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service as part of the Farm Bill.
Another hurdle for farmers markets accepting SNAP are the costs of the equipment and processing. The Texas Center for Local Food also works to help farmers markets offset farmers markets costs not paid for by these grant costs using funds contributed by TCLF members. To become a member, or find out how to participate, please visit TexasLocalFood.org/Join-Us
The Texas Center for Local Food, based in Elgin, Texas, was created in 2016 by small farmers and ranchers to strengthen the economic viability of Texas communities and family farms through making the local food system economically stronger. For more information, visit TexasLocalFood.org or contact Sue Beckwith at sueb@TexasLocalFood.org.
Data Points & SourcesBased on FY 2020 & FY 2019:
On average 12.4% of Texans receive SNAP every month (1.6 million families).
Each month over $400 million dollars in SNAP payments are made in Texas.
The % of SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets is almost 0 (0.003%), ranking Texas 47th in the