SNAP benefits can buy more than groceries! You can grow your own food from seeds and plants.

This time of year, the main aisles of grocery stores are filled with seed displays; and, in a few more weeks, fruit, vegetable and herb plants will appear just outside their main entrances.  I am always drawn in by the colorful photos and overwhelming selection.  One day I hope to actually build a raised bed garden to grow food.

For those of you who are already “kitchen gardeners,” or who are taking the initial plunge this year – you can use FNS/SNAP benefits to purchase seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat.  Just think about the possibilities:

→ Dollar-for-dollar, the yield from grown seeds/plants is hugely more than what could be purchased at the grocery store.

→ These plants provide vegetables, fruits and herbs across time, so a single purchase will put food on your table across several months.  And in North Carolina, there’s often time for a second planting later in the summer.

→ You get to enjoy the process of gardening – being out in the sunshine and fresh air, knowing exactly where your food comes from, and sharing any surplus (usually zucchini!) with your friends and neighbors.

→ Most folks will agree that homegrown, recently picked foods just taste better.

→ And, if you’re extra ambitious, you could freeze, can or dry some of the surplus veggies and fruits to extend the “tastes of summer” into the fall and winter months.

Let us know if you’ve used your FNS/SNAP benefits to purchase seeds or plants.