Department of Children and Families
David E. Wilkins
May 11, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that farmers markets in Florida will receive financial assistance to allow them to accept food assistance cards.
The Florida Department of Children and Families will receive $78,749 to help many local farmers markets acquire the equipment necessary to handle purchases through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card, which are used by those who receive temporary federal benefits including food and cash assistance.
"Not only will this grant money help small businesses by giving them the opportunity for more customers, it will also allow our clients to have access to local, fresh, healthy food," said DCF Secretary David Wilkins. "This will benefit many children and families while also helping Florida’s economy."
Farmers markets, which do not always have access to phone lines or electricity, have had difficulty redeeming food assistance benefits through the EBT system. As a result of this funding, states may provide wireless equipment to currently non-participating farmers markets. This grant is part of $4 million in funding nationwide to encourage farmers markets to make EBT transactions available.
Nationwide, there are currently more than 1,500 farmers markets using EBT technology. Since 2008, food assistance expenditures at farmers markets have risen by 400 percent.
The USDA National Farmers Market Directory lists farmers markets that accept EBT and other federal nutrition programs. It is available at http://farmersmarkets.usda.gov. The directory is an easy-to-use tool that allows users to search for markets based on location, available products and types of payment accepted. There is information on 143 Florida farmers markets available at this site.