MELBOURNE, Florida -- The Brevard County Farmers Market has received a federal grant funding Electronic benefit transfer (EBT) payments under the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.
USDA has made expanding SNAP recipients’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables through farmers markets a priority in recent years. In 2008, about 750 farmers markets and direct marketing farmers accepted SNAP. Along with other criteria, a farmers market is defined as a multi-stall market at which farmer-producers sell agricultural products, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables (but also meat products, dairy products, and/or grains), directly to the general public at a central or fixed location.
As a result of funding provided by Congress through the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012, last year USDA announced the availability of $4 million in funding to expand the availability of wireless point-of-sale equipment in farmers markets not currently accepting SNAP benefits. U.S. Representative Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) voted for the Appropriations Act.
“These grants increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to SNAP customers and further encourage them to purchase and prepare healthy foods for their families using SNAP benefits,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon. “In general, research shows that about 20 cents of every SNAP dollar spent on food ends up in the pocket of American farmers. Installing wireless technology at farmers markets expands the customer base for markets and increases the share of the SNAP dollar that goes directly back to local farmers and into local economies.”
Visit the Brevard County Farmer's Market each Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Wickham Park in Melbourne. For more information check out the UF/Brevard Extension Service website at www.