SNAP benefit redemptions through farmers markets show sharp increase

Special to The SUN

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are spending more of their benefits to make purchases at roadside farm stands, farmers markets and directly from local farmers than ever before.

SNAP redemptions at those outlets in FY14 totaled $18.8 million, a nearly six-fold increase since 2008. Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon lauded the increase during a visit to Philadelphia’s Clark Park Farmers Market.

“All Americans, including those participating in our nutrition assistance programs, need to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet. America’s farmers have an important role to play in addressing that need in communities across the country,” Concannon said. “Accepting SNAP benefits also increases the customer base for local producers, adding an extra economic boost to the community.”

The Pagosa Farmers Market, in partnership with Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS), is accepting SNAP cards.

If you meet the program guidelines, you will get a special debit card (called an EBT card). This debit card comes with a certain amount of money already on it to pay for food. The amount of money you get on the card may depend on three things:

• Household income from all sources (earned and unearned) such as money you get from a job, Social Security, SSI or interest.

• How many people live in your household.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.