Expanding Access One Pager


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Expanding Access One Pager

  1. 1. Expanding Access to Farmers Markets Act S.1593 A Summary | November 1, 2011In the last few years, the popularity of farmers markets in the US has increased substantially, with asmany as 1,000 new markets opening in 2011 alone. But fewer than 30% of all farmers markets arecurrently equipped to accept food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition AssistanceProgram or SNAP). Most traditional grocery and convenience stores can accommodate the EBTterminals used to process SNAP benefits, which use phone lines and electrical hookups to operate.Farmers markets and other food markets that operate in the open air, however, often lack theinfrastructure to support wired EBT terminals. This bill would equip outdoor markets with wirelesstechnology that would enable them to accept SNAP benefits.With equipment to process SNAP benefits, local farmers would reach a larger customer base andcompete on a more level playing field with brick-and-mortar food retailers.Too many Americans live in neighborhoods where it is easy to purchase processed and conveniencefood but hard to find an apple or a head of lettuce for sale. The presence of a farmers market in anunderserved neighborhood means improved access to fresh, healthy produce and can give a vitaleconomic boost to the community. But a market in a low-income neighborhood is of little help unlessSNAP participants can use their benefits there to buy healthy food for their families.The Expanding Access to Farmers Markets Act would:  Provide farmers markets with wireless, mobile equipment to process SNAP benefits.  Amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require State agencies and the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA to treat farmers markets and other open-air retailers the same as brick-and-mortar, traditional retail food stores.  Encourage State agencies to contract with nonprofit organizations to assist with outreach, training and administration.Senator Gillibrand is currently seeking co-sponsors in both the House and the Senate for thisimportant legislation. Organizations wishing to sign on in support of this bill, or who want to help gettheir legislator to sign on can contact Brook Gesser at brook_gesser@gillibrand.senate.gov.To date, sign on organizations include Farmers Market Coalition, National Sustainable AgricultureCoalition, Community Food Security Coalition, Fair Food Network, Food Research & Action Center,Hunger Action Network of New York State, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, WholesomeWave, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Jan Walters’ Consulting Services, LLC, Pennsylvania Association forSustainable Agriculture (PASA), Green For All, FRESHFARM Markets, Michigan Land Use Institute, andmore than 32 organizational members of the Farmers Market Coalition. Farmers markets are good for everyone. Join us to make them even better. farmers ● consumers ● communities P.O. Box 504 ● Charlottesville, VA ● 22902 info@farmersmarketcoalition.org ● 434-984-0175 ● 877-FMC-0553 ● www.farmersmarketcoalition.org