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Using SNAP/EBT at the Farmers Market

Due to the global pandemic, Michigan’s statewide food insecurity rate is predicted to increase from 13.6% to 21% by the end of the year.1 Food pantries and emergency food sites are feeling the impact of this increased need. Food Gatherers, a Washtenaw county hunger relief agency, has reported a 30-300% increase in people seeking assistance at their partner pantry sites. About 40% of these visitors are first time food pantry clients.2 

While food pantries rise to this challenge, additional food access options are necessary. Michigan’s 300+ farmers markets are key to filling this need. Across the state, farmers markets make fresh, local food affordable by accepting SNAP/EBT Bridge Cards and participating in Double Up Food Bucks. When SNAP/EBT shoppers purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with their Bridge Card at a participating Michigan farmers market, DUFB matches their purchase $1 for $1. Currently, there is no limit on DUFB, so users can stretch their food assistance benefits even further. This means more healthy, fresh food for the shopper’s family and increased income for small local food businesses.

September is peak farmers market season and there is an abundance of good food available. Shopping at the farmers market with SNAP benefits is easy. SNAP users can visit the market information booth to swipe a Bridge Card and receive tokens for purchasing a variety of delicious produce, proteins, and baked goods.

SNAP/EBT Bridge card eligible farmers market foods include:

• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Dairy
• Eggs
• Herbs
• Baked goods
• Honey
• Maple Syrup
• Jam
• Meat
• Mushrooms
• Food producing plants

Shoppers can find farmers markets in their community that accept SNAP here, can plan their purchases by viewing this seasonality chart, and can learn what to expect at the market from this video. SNAP/EBT benefits, and Double Up Food Bucks, can be used year round at participating farmers markets and retail stores. 

If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, apply for SNAP/EBT by calling the Food and Other Resources (F.O.R.) Helpline 888-544-8773 or visiting https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/ 

Photo Credit: Eastern Market Partnership

Kelly Wilson, RDN, is the Director of Community Partners for Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at kelly@localdifference.org

Sources:

https://www.feedingamerica.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/Brief_Local%20Impact_5.19.2020.pdf
 https://www.foodgatherers.org/images/Plenty%20Newsletter%20PDFs/Food%20Gatherers%20Summer%20Newsletter%20-%20Digital.pdf

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  in CoVID-19, Dairy, Economy, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Health