SNAP Program Success: New in Exeter this Season, too!

You may have noticed that Seacoast Eat Local, in collaboration with Seacoast Growers’ Association, expanded our SNAP/EBT program to include Exeter with the Portsmouth and Dover Farmers’ Markets during summer. From the Seacoast Grower’s Association‘s latest newsletter:

SNAP Program SuccessNew in Exeter this Season, too!

Payment options at summer farmers’ markets include accepting SNAP/EBT and Debit Cards in Portsmouth, Dover and now Exeter.

The farmers’ market season is officially in full swing in New Hampshire. Residents of the Seacoast are incredibly lucky to have markets in many different locations open every day of the week. As you know, four of those summer markets are organized by the Seacoast Growers’ Association. Due to a unique collaboration between Seacoast Growers and Seacoast Eat Local (both nonprofits), three of these markets are even easier for customers to access each week. The token program makes it possible for shoppers to use debit cards and SNAP/EBT to shop with local farmers.

The SNAP/EBT Farmers’ Market Program enables recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps, to use their benefits to buy fresh, healthy and local foods. Seacoast Eat Local launched this program in 2011 and now offers this service year-round at both the Seacoast Eat Local winter markets and the Seacoast Growers Association summer markets.

At the market, a customer can go to the SNAP booth and have a desired amount taken off of their EBT card in return for wooden market tokens. These tokens are redeemable at participating vendors who sell eligible products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs, and even seeds and seedling for food producing plants.

SNAP customers will also receive up to $10 free to buy more fruits and vegetables, every time they shop at the farmers market.

For customers who have forgotten cash, debit cards can also be used to buy wooden tokens that are redeemable for all products at the market (debit customers do not receive incentive).

Seacoast Eat Local will be providing family activities – like this week’s scavenger hunts – at the market to encourage families to eat fresh healthy meals and learn more about buying and preparing local food. The markets will also be part of the Seacoast Eat Local Gleaning program, that collects fresh foods from market patrons and local farmers, and donates them to area food pantries. So far this season, the gleaning program collected 765 pounds of food donated to local pantries!

Funding for this program includes support from the Thomas W. Haas and the Josephine A. Lamprey Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Long Term Care Partners, and Piscataqua Bank of Portsmouth. The Market Match program which doubles SNAP dollars and increases the purchases of fruits and vegetables is supported by the Wholesome Wave Foundation.

For more information about using Debit and SNAP/EBT at the markets go to http://seacoasteatlocal.org/snap/shopwithsnap/ or email Snap@seacoasteatlocal.org.

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