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Farmers’ market directory to aid SNAP recipients

| February 18, 2020
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is developing and distributing the new 2020 Ohio Farmers’ Market Electronic Benefit Transfer Directory.
The new directory provides a county-by-county list of farmers’ markets in the state that will take the Ohio Direction card. This is so families receiving SNAP benefits can purchase food locally from farmers and producers who participate in farmers’ markets.
“It is a win-win,” said Christie Welch, direct food and agricultural marketing specialist for OSU South Centers. “It helps SNAP recipients find farmers’ markets near them. They can use their benefits, and it helps local farmers because the recipients can buy with them instead of the big box stores.”
Welch said giving SNAP recipients access to fresh, locally produced foods through farmers’ markets is helpful to them. “When you buy locally, it lasts longer and tastes better,” she said. “It will save money because there is less waste.”
Welch said most consumers today want to know who they are buying from and how the food is produced, and buying through farmers’ markets gives them the opportunity to do so. “And the money stays local through supporting farmers,” she said.
The directory, according to Welch, can help SNAP users find farmers’ markets in their area, as well as market hours and what days of the week they are open. “That’s helpful because farmers’ markets can be seasonal or only open on different days of the week,” she said.
Another benefit is SNAP recipients can find which farmers’ markets near them participate in the incentive program, Produce Perks. The program will allow markets to match spent SNAP dollars up to $20 per day. “You can double your spending power,” Welch said.
Produce Perks doubles the purchasing power for low-income shoppers, providing a $1 for $1 match for families and individuals receiving SNAP when spent on healthy foods.
Produce Perks is a regional nonprofit that pioneers solutions to address inequities within the food system. Its work increases affordable access to healthy food, supports local farmers and strengthens local economies — in the most underserved communities.
Produce Perks has been appropriated a total of $850,000 over FY20-21 in the Ohio State Operating Budget. With strong bipartisan support from the Ohio Legislature, Produce Perks was able to secure $250,000 in each fiscal year to expand programming and operations of its flagship program.
Farmers’ markets that want to be included in the directory can fill out a survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/PH8CF7Z by March 1. One survey must be completed for each physical market location.
More information can be found at www.jfs.ohio.gov/ofam/InfoMarkets.stm. There also are promotional tools such as welcome cards and signs, as well as how-to guides and handbooks.
More information on Produce Perks can be found at its website at www.produceperks.org.

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Category: People & Places

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