Purchase Locally Grown Food at Farmers’ Markets
Governor Dannel P. Malloy today visited the North End Farmers’ Market in Hartford, where he held an event to promote Connecticut Grown products and encouraged residents to purchase locally-grown, healthy food at their neighborhood farmers’ markets.
“Many low-income residents who live in urban areas frequently have difficulty finding quality, nutritious fruits and vegetables in their neighborhoods. It’s important to remind residents about all the options available and the growing number of farmers’ markets in communities throughout the state – including urban neighborhoods – that now have the ability to accept SNAP food-assistance benefits as payment,” Governor Malloy said. “We can get healthy food to everyone, and we can also do it while supporting Connecticut farmers, our local agricultural industry, and Connecticut Grown products.”
“Farmers’ markets are a great celebration of our rich farming heritage, and an opportunity to meet the generations of farm families who put food on our tables,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “During the summer when children are home from school and food costs rise, it’s especially important to expand access to fresh fruits and produce. I applaud continued efforts to make Connecticut Grown produce more widely available for all residents.”
Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky noted that a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps provide the technology for farmers’ markets to accept payment from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The use of mobile devices along with card readers and other equipment and software helps farmers accept the Electronic Benefit Transfer card from SNAP as payment for their products. In addition, this technology also provides farmers with the ability to accept credit and debit cards as payment.
Currently, SNAP benefits are accepted at about 46 of the approximately 125 farmers’ markets in Connecticut, including locations in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Meriden, and Middletown.
Some farmers’ markets, including the North End market that the Governor visited today, will actually double the face value of SNAP benefits, increasing both consumers’ buying power and the amount of product sold by farmers.
“That’s good for farmers, for the farmers’ markets, and for the recipients,” Commissioner Reviczky said. “And we all know that healthy eating saves money down the road on health care costs.”
The Department of Social Services (DSS) has been promoting the use of SNAP at farmers’ markets through its client counselors, its website, a video that plays in the waiting area of the 12 DSS offices across the state, and with service partners such as End Hunger Connecticut and the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut.
DSS Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said, “The growing partnership between farmers’ markets and the state is terrific on many levels. First and foremost are the health benefits resulting from greater access to tasty, home-grown fruits and vegetables. As more farmers’ markets gain the technology to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, even more children and adults of all ages enrolled in SNAP will be able to purchase healthy and delicious Connecticut Grown foods. Our goal is to help all farmers’ markets across the state to participate, while promoting Connecticut agriculture and healthy eating in the process.”
In addition to accepting SNAP as payment, authorized farmers and farmers’ markets in Connecticut can also participate in the state’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which provides fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC recipients. The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) also provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers’ markets, such as fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs.
A complete listing of farmers’ markets in Connecticut is available on the Department of Agriculture’s website at www.CTGrown.gov. A listing of those markets that accept SNAP can be found on the Department of Social Services’ website at www.ct.gov/snap/farmersmarkets.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared August 2nd through 8th as “National Farmers’ Market Week” in the nation, honoring the important role that farmers’ markets play in local economies and in encouraging healthy eating.