Eating fresh, local food has gotten easier for Williamsburg families. The Williamsburg Farmers Market now participates in the USDAs Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally known as the Food Stamp Program, which offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low income individuals and families.
Households enrolled in the SNAP program can now use EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards at the Token Tent to purchase fresh food items at the market. Cardholders determine the amount of purchase and receive wooden tokens, worth $1 each. With the tokens (which never expire), they can purchase fresh-picked produce, local honey, homemade breads, preserves and other food items, including those produced using organic farming methods.
To help fill the gap, and get more Virginia grown and produced food into the hands of our low-income neighbors, the Williamsburg Farmers Market created the Fresh Food Fund, a token-matching program for SNAP participants. The Fresh Food Fund provides SNAP shoppers with a dollar-for-dollar match (up to an additional $10 per week) to spend with market vendors. By making their benefit dollars go farther, the Fresh Food Fund encourages SNAP beneficiaries to shop at farmers markets, so they can enjoy the best local food and support local farmers.
The Fresh Food Fund is sustained through generous contributions from local businesses and Williamsburg Farmers Market customers. The EBT terminal was provided by Virginia Department of Social Services at no cost to the market.
The SNAP program was initiated as part of the Markets 10th Anniversary Legacy Project. The Farmers Market Board is committed to offering SNAP participants the benefits of eating locally grown food, said Marty Wilson, Chairman of the Market Board, We want everyone in the community to feel part of the Williamsburg Farmers Market family and to have access to good nutrition.
The Williamsburg Farmers Market joins an increasing number of farmers markets across the country, and is proud to be the first farmers market on the Peninsula to accept EBT cards. The Williamsburg Farmers Market is open every Saturday.
For more information, visit www.williamsburgfarmersmarket.com.