Pittsboro Farmers’ Market Now Accepting SNAP / EBT Payments
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The Pittsboro Farmers’ Market has become Chatham County’s first farmers’ market to accept SNAP/EBT payments!
USDA’s SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the largest anti-hunger program in America. It provides monthly funds to buy groceries, helping families and individuals afford nutritious food that is essential for their well-being. EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) is the card that is used to make eligible food purchases at approved retail stores and farmers’ markets.
Tara Gregory, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent for the Chatham County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension, worked closely with the market to obtain approval for SNAP/EBT and get the market set up for sales.
Tara had discovered in a recent survey she conducted with other community partners that 97% of individuals receiving SNAP benefits would be more likely to shop at the Pittsboro Farmers’ Market if SNAP/EBT was accepted. This sparked her motivation to see the process through.
There are multiple steps required to be able to accept SNAP/EBT payments at a farmers’ market:
The first step was to get approved by the USDA to accept SNAP/EBT payments and that required filling out the USDA application (history of the market, eligible foods, annual sales, etc.). Tara collected the information from the market and filled out the online form; approval took a few weeks.
Next, Tara researched best options for point-of-sale systems and recommended one to the market to process the EBT cards through the market account. She then designed and purchased the wooden tokens for EBT purchases.
Tara helped design a few simple signs to use at the market and helped spread the word through her network of agency contacts. The market first started accepting SNAP on January 11.
The Pittsboro Farmers’ Market’s SNAP/EBT Kick-off Event will be this Thursday, January 25, and there will be samples, prize give-aways every half hour, and community resources so come on out! The market is open every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at The Plant.
The market has established a dollar matching program that doubles the amount of money for EBT purchases. Visit market manager Mary Medvar at her table at the market if you would like to donate to this Double Bucks program. Email the market manager to subscribe to the market email list.
Tara is thankful for the help she got from the Carrboro Farmers’ Market while assisting the Pittsboro Farmers’ Market. The Carrboro Market has been accepting SNAP/EBT payment for many years and helpfully shared their forms, agreements, and signage with her to use as templates.
Our hope is that other Chatham County farmers’ markets will also work towards accepting SNAP/EBT payments!