At a time when healthy eating is always in the headlines, it seems that some headway has been made with teaching the poor to develop healthy habits. According to the US Department of Agriculture, those on government assistance spent $18.8 million of their SNAP benefits on food from farmer’s markets. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the benefits that people are given to use as food stamps when they meet low income requirements.
A large reason that more people have been able to purchase their food from farmers markets is the simple fact that the number of markets able to take SNAP has increased from 753 up to the much larger 6,400. Technology is the main reason why this major change has been able to happen.
According to Brian Torchin, the USDA has partnered with the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs and now gives qualifying farmers markets and the farmers that have booths free wireless equipment. They are able to use this equipment to take SNAP electronically. This past May the USDA also announced that they have received funds of three additional million to help more farmers markets accept SNAP benefits. This is not only great for those on benefits, but also for farmers who will be able to cater to a larger audience.