When the Greenbelt Farmers Market (GFM) begins accepting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards this Sunday, August 13, the market will match participants’ SNAP funds dollar for dollar up to $5. Funding permitting, the match will stay in place until the season ends the week before Thanksgiving.
The SNAP match initially comes out of the market’s reserves in anticipation of receiving grant funding. The market has also created a crowd-funding initiative to help sustain the match. The public may assist directly through either a PayPal contribution from a button on the market’s website, or by purchasing one or more $1 tokens at the market. It’s a variant on “build it and they will come” called “start it and they will fund.”
SNAP is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food assistance program that helps over 45 million Americans put food on the table and is often referred to as food stamps from its early days when a stamp-based system was used as payment. In today’s world, SNAP recipients have a debit card linked to a SNAP account that they swipe at the grocery store like anybody else. Although some market vendors already accept SNAP, many smaller ones do not – and one of GFM’s tenets is to enable all families at any income level to have access to healthy, locally-grown produce. This area has many families and seniors who use SNAP to supplement their budgets.
Read more of this story in the August 10 News Review