Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Federal money to help farmers' markets buy machines to accept food stamps is going unspent

Federal money designed to help farmers' markets accept food stamps is going unspent, mostly because the Department of Agriculture is having a hard time finding anyone who wants the money, or is qualified to receive it, reports Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. Only 6.6 percent of the $4 million allocation has been spent. (Photo from Poor Girl Eats Well)

The grant gives farmers' markets technology to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, which offers nutrition assistance to millions of low-income people and provides economic benefits to communities, according to USDA. Rogerio Carrasco, the program's coordinator, said it has been a struggle to award the $2,000 grants, which allow markets to "purchase machines that can accept, and networks that can keep track of, SNAP dollars," Agri-Pulse reports. As of May 2012, only 1,500 of the 7,100 markets in the U.S. accepted the electronic benefit transfer payments.

Agri-Pulse is subscription-only, but offers a free trial here.

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