Low-income families spend $123k in SNAP benefits at farmers markets

When eligible families buy fruits and vegetables at farmers markets with their SNAP benefits, everyone wins.

It’s great news for everyone. Families are able to buy and eat homegrown and the freshest, healthiest food available. Local farmers have a new group of consumers to whom to sell. Economic development has another boost.

We’re talking about the $123,000-plus that low-income individuals and families spent in SNAP benefits at Rhode Island farmers markets and Food on the Move trucks in 2016, described in the November 2017 Rhode Island Monthly.

Yes, farm-grown food can be more expensive than the mass-produced fat- and salt-heavy offerings at the supermarkets and fast food joints. But organizations like Farm Fresh Rhode Island are working with farmers and the state to make it much more affordable.

RI Monthly describes one such case:

“Because she is enrolled in Healthy Foods, Healthy Families, every time Angela swipes her SNAP EBT card at the Farm Fresh RI welcome desk, she also gets a double bonus, which means she gets 80 percent extra in Bonus Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. Last week she exchanged $20 in SNAP benefits on her card for $20 in tokens and she gained an additional $16 in tokens to spend specifically on fruits and vegetables. Other SNAP recipients get a 40 percent bonus in tokens to spend on local produce.”


South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds is pleased to work with Thundermist Health Center to similarly encourage families to shop at farmers markets in South County. In fact, local winter markets are now open in North Kingstown and South Kingstown every Saturday. Check our calendar for details.

Photograph: Angela Humphrey is a single mom who uses SNAP incentives at the farmers market. Her daughter, Aurora, shows off Bonus Bucks as they shop for vegetables. Photography by Mike Cevoli, for RI Monthly.

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