Aug 9, 2017Wireless technology to help Michigan farmers’ markets
The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) and farmers’ markets across Michigan that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as the SNAP Bridge Card will have access to added resources in 2018.
MIFMA shared information indicating Gov. Rick Snyder signed the 2018 fiscal year budget on July 14, with the state of Michigan pledging support to help sustain and grow the ability of farmer’s markets and direct marketing farmers to accept SNAP benefits. The budget included support for the wireless point of sale devices that are necessary for most markets and farmers to be able to accept these benefits.
Of the estimated 300 farmers’ markets in Michigan, more than 160 currently accept SNAP Bridge Cards. More than half of the markets that accept SNAP currently utilize wireless devices that incur costs to operate. Costs range from $5 each month to more than a $1,000 a year in fees and associated costs. Farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers often conduct SNAP transactions in locations that do not have access to electricity and landline phone services, making wireless devices necessary in order to create access to fresh, nutritious food for SNAP shoppers in these locations. The access a farmers’ market has to a wireless point of sales device is needed to implement Fair Food Network’s SNAP incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks.
“While this is a huge victory for farmers markets that accept SNAP Bridge Cards, it is an even bigger win for the families that depend on and utilize SNAP benefits, families that are looking for fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables to put on their plate,” said Amanda Shreve, program director for MIFMA. “It took a lot of education and many conversations for us to reach this goal, however, the work is worth it because it will help ensure that everyone has access to the fresh, nutritious food that is available at Michigan’s farmers markets.”
Shreve, along with members of Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan, advocated i on the behalf of Michigan farmers, farmers markets, and families who utilize SNAP benefits. Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan is a statewide coalition of more than 200 organizations dedicated to reducing childhood obesity in Michigan through strategic policy initiatives.
“The 2018 budget will ensure that no-cost, wireless point of sales devices will be accessible to farmers’ markets starting in the 2018 farmers market season,” said Andrew Schepers, chair of Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan and Director of Michigan Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “We’re pleased with this opportunity, which will increase access to healthier foods for many around the state.”
To learn more about SNAP acceptance at Michigan farmers’ markets, visit here.