Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trends with SNAP at the farmers markets

Nationwide, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are spending more of their benefits to make purchases at roadside farm stands, farmers markets and directly from local farmers than ever before. SNAP redemptions at those outlets in 2014 totaled $18.8 million, a nearly six-fold increase since 2008.

In St. Lawrence County, when measured over that same time period, we have also seen a similar large increase in the use of SNAP benefits at our farmers markets, partly due to expansion of the program to all markets in the County.  However, when we look at just 2014 SNAP usage at farmers markets compared to 2013, there was a 28% decrease!

We are trying to understand this in order to find way to address it and help low-income families access this healthy local food while supporting local farmers.  Any and all insights and ideas are welcome!