Not all farmers markets accept FNS/SNAP benefits, but quite a few do, and the list is growing every day. To find out if your local farmers’ market accepts these benefits, the best way is to contact them directly – be sure to ask if the entire market accepts benefits, or if individual vendors at the market accept benefits. I’d recommend going to a market in person, checking out which farmers will accept these benefits (do they typically carry the types of fruits and vegetables you want to purchase?), and ask how they’ll process your benefits – before you shop for produce.
You might be wondering – how do farmers’ markets handle FNS/SNAP benefits? Here are the most common ways:
- IF THE WHOLE MARKET ACCEPTS EBT BENEFITS. If the entire market accepts benefits, there’s usually a central location where your EBT card is swiped and you are given tokens for the amount swiped. For example, if you swipe your card and request $10 to purchase food, you’ll be given ten $1 tokens to shop at farmer stalls that participate in the program – look for “we accept EBT” signs on their stalls. If you have tokens left over after shopping, you’ll return them to the main location and your EBT account will be credited.
- IF INDIVIDUAL FARMERS ACCEPT EBT BENEFITS. Farmers who accept benefits solely for their own business either do it by hand (using SNAP vouchers and calling in your purchase amount) or by swiping your EBT card on a point-of-sale (POS) device, similar to what grocery stores use. Farmers who typically accept only cash for purchases are more likely to use vouchers; and, farmers who accept debit cards and credit cards are more likely to directly swipe your EBT card on their POS device.
Let us know how you have used your FNS/SNAP benefits at your local farmers market.