Morris Area Farmers Market to accept EBT and participate in Market Bucks program; becomes part of a growing trend seen across Minnesota
Morris, MN. (June 23, 2014) – Access to fresh, affordable food continues to be a challenge that low-income Minnesotans face as they strive to eat healthier. Fortunately, the Morris Area Farmers Market, like many other markets across the state, will be making it easy for low-income Minnesotans to take advantage of the fresh and healthy foods the markets have to offer.
Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are able to use their benefits at a growing number of Minnesota farmers markets. This season, SNAP shoppers will be able to use EBT cards at more than 70 farmers markets across the state to purchase Minnesota grown fruits, vegetables and other products of farm and field—fresh foods that low-income shoppers may not find readily otherwise, especially in areas that lack a full service grocery store.
In the face of substantial challenges, farmers markets have found it difficult to adopt a means to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, the means by which SNAP recipients receive and spend their benefits and that replaced paper food stamps about a decade ago. Farmers markets believe the effort to overcome the barriers preventing SNAP recipients from using their benefits at the market to be worthwhile. EBT at farmers markets not only makes access to healthier foods easier for those using SNAP, it also drives more federal dollars into the local economy and the pockets of Minnesota growers.
The Morris Area Farmers Market, along with 60-plus markets, is also collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) to enable SNAP recipients to stretch their benefits further with a special incentive called “Market Bucks”. The incentive matches EBT card purchases with up to $5 worth of coupons each market day that customers can use to purchase additional SNAP-eligible foods at participating farmers markets. The Market Bucks program can be used during the same trip or anytime during the 2014 market season.
“We know many people want to make healthier choices for themselves and their families, but the challenge is making the healthy choice, the easy choice,” said Janelle Waldock, director of the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross. “Enabling SNAP recipients to use EBT cards at their local farmers market provides access to locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables, which is especially important in areas where we find significant health disparities.”
Starting in July 1st, visit the Morris Area Farmers Market just three times to earn an extra $10 in Market Bucks. Visit the market just once a week and you could earn $150 to spend at the market on fresh, tasty food. Also $2 coupons will be distributed in the community to redeem at the market!
This year initiatives that lower barriers at farmers markets for low-income customers have the potential to be particularly valuable. The cost of fresh produce at grocery stores nationwide is poised to jump due to continued droughts in California. Items like lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli could see prices increases of as much as 20 percent in the coming months, making the locally grown produce found at the farmers market as attractive for people’s wallets as it is for their health.
The Morris Area Farmers Market operates every Monday and Thursday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm June 12th – End of season. The market is located on the East Side Park at the intersection of Colorado Avenue and Seventh Street.
For more information on the market, please visitwww.morrisareafarmersmarket.com or contact Paula Feuchtenberger, Farmers Market Manager, at 320 349-0201
If you are a farmer, a small grower, or perhaps a just a big gardener with a “green thumb”, we need you at the Morris Area Farmers Market! Here is a great opportunity to get started: the Morris Area Farmers Market is offering a one day free pass for new vendors to sell at the market. The current MAFM vendors want you to give us a try, and invite you to be a part of our growing and flourishing Morris Area Farmers Market.
The Morris Area Farmers Market is a place where farmers, growers, producers and artisans sell their products directly to the public, and customers have a direct relationship with the producer of the items they purchase. This market emphasizes product quality, freshness and originality, with items produced and sold locally.
MARKET DAYS AND HOURS: Mondays and Thursdays, 3 pm to 6 pm
OPENING DAY: Thursday, June 12, 2014
LAST DAY: Until end of season
LOCATION: East Side Park at the intersection of Colorado Avenue and Seventh Street
Interested and potential vendors must complete the 2014 application form and return it one week before selling at the market. Hard copies of the application are also available at Pomme de Terre Foods.
Email or mail the application to:
Paula Feuchtenberger, MAFM Manager
25787 450th Ave
Hancock, MN 56244
After trying out the Morris Area Farmers Market as a “vendor for a day”, we hope that you will decide to continue selling your products at the Farmers Market. The daily rate is $5, or you can purchase a full-season vendor pass for $40. The Market Advisory Committee reviews all vendor applications for consistency with Morris Area Farmers Market guidelines.
For more information, contact Paula Feuchtenberger, 320-392-5657 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn about the Morris Area Farmers Market and what the market offers to our community. view how to use your EBT card and Market Bucks at the market to purchase fresh local foods. A lot of great activities and community events are organized at the market to make more fun while shopping for healthy foods. Please share this video and invite your family and friends to join us at the Morris Area Farmers Market every Monday and Thursday from 3:00pm – 6:00pm on East Side Park.