Free EBT machines available for direct market farmers

By Leslie Wustrack

Special to The SUN

Registration is now open for farmers markets, farm stands and community supported agriculture (CSAs) to receive free — wired or wireless — electronic benefit transfer (EBT) machines at no cost. Interested direct market farmers must attend one of four signup days to be held in January; registration for a signup day must be completed by Friday, Jan. 13.

The EBT machines, supplied at no cost, will allow markets, stands and CSAs to sell their healthy, Colorado-grown foods to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in Colorado.

SNAP, a USDA Food and Nutrition Service program that replaced food stamps, offers nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.

The SNAP program, administered in the area by Archuleta County Human Services in Pagosa Springs, is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. EBT is an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card.

Signup days will be held at the dates and locations listed below. Markets or farmers can become SNAP-authorized by USDA staff on the spot and complete an order form for the EBT machine that day. Sessions will include an overview of how EBT works, information on signing up for Double Up Food Bucks and how farmers can become authorized to receive Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits. (If you currently have a working EBT, there is no need to attend.)

Interested participants must register to attend one of the following sessions no later than Friday, Jan. 13. To register, please visit:

• Jan. 21, Montrose.

• Jan. 23, Alamosa.

• Jan. 24, Lakewood.

• Jan. 25, Ft. Collins/Greeley.

If you are unable to attend one of these sessions, please contact Wendy Moschetti, director of food systems, LiveWell Colorado, at