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NC State Extension

Food Access at Farmers’ Markets

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Increasing access to locally-sourced, fresh foods can begin at farmers’ markets. Steps such as accepting SNAP/EBT benefits, prioritizing practical transportation, and sharing nutrition education can create a more inclusive, accessible market space for community members of all wealth levels. This page contains several resources that can guide Agents, market managers, and community organizers in advancing accessibility at their farmers’ market.

Hillborough street farmer’s market. Photo by Marc Hall

On This Page

Guides & Toolkits Programs
Videos Publications

:Guides & Toolkits

Resource Description
A Guide to SNAP/EBT at Farmers’ Markets in North Carolina: Steps, Best Practices, and Resources This RAFI guide is for farmers’ market organizers, public health professionals, and food justice advocates who want to learn how farmers’ markets can accept SNAP/EBT benefits. It also includes an overview of SNAP/EBT in NC, how to implement a successful SNAP/EBT program at farmers’ markets, descriptions of market nutrition incentive programs and how farmers’ markets can implement their own incentive program. March 2018.
MarketLink™ A guide for farmers markets and direct‐marketing farmers on FNS enrollment process, selection of wireless equipment, education on what it means to become a SNAP retailer, and training on the use of the equipment and processes.
Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Bridging the Divide Between Farmers Markets and Low-Income Shoppers This guide from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project helps communities build a bridge over the divide between farmers’
markets and low-income shoppers. It includes information on federal nutrition benefits programs, existing barriers to shopping at markets, nutrition education, marketing, promotion, and more. November 2012.
Guide to Excel for Farmers Market SNAP EBT Programs This resource from RAFI is designed to provide basic Excel advice and tools, specifically for farmers market managers running SNAP/EBT programs. It’s built specifically for Excel 2013 but much of the instruction should apply to other versions, too.
SNAP/EBT at Your Farmers Market: Seven Steps to Success This comprehensive guide from Project for Public Spaces and Wholesome Wave provides information on creating a strong program infrastructure; developing a sustainable funding strategy; understanding and meeting the needs of a diverse customer base; and establishing community partnerships to extend the reach of the program through marketing, promotions and incentives. July 2010.
SNAC’s NC Food and Nutrition Resource Guide This guide provides a snapshot of 14 different USDA/FNS programs available in North Carolina. It is available in English and Spanish.

:Videos

Resource Description

SNAP/EBT at the Farmers’ Market

This video includes an introduction to SNAP/EBT at the market and highlights the benefits that the market and its vendors have seen since they began accepting this payment method.

How to use SNAP/EBT at the farmers’ market

This instructional video shows how to use a SNAP/EBT card and tokens at a farmers’ market. Find it also in Spanish.
Webinar: Are you eligible to get a free EBT machine from your state? This recorded webinar from Farmers’ Market Coalition and Wholesome Wave discusses the USDA’s $4 Million appropriation for EBT at farmers’ markets and your eligibility for receiving a free EBT machine. May 2013.
EBT Advisory Group Join a monthly call with other food access and market representatives and review resources via Farmers’ Market Coalition.

:Programs

Resource Description
More in My Basket An NC State/Cooperative Extension program that helps reduce hunger by connecting NC residents to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Are you an individual who is interested in receiving SNAP payments? Contact More in My Basket for help applying!
The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) includes assistance for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Seniors. The North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services administers the program in cooperation with the North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Interested in receiving training and signing up for FMNP WIC and Senior programs?

  • Contact NC Program Administrators: Monica Wood with NCDA & CS at 919-733-7417 or monica.wood@ncagr.gov or MaryAnne Burghardt with NC DHHS at 919-707-5800.
Wholesome Wave Since 2007, Wholesome Wave has partnered with Community-Based Organizations by bringing powerful concepts and seed funding to co-design program approaches that work best for their community. Program concepts are designed to raise and re-invest private funding.
Fair Food Network: Double Up Food Bucks Double Up Food Bucks is a national model for healthy food incentives active in 28 states and growing. Double Up’s track record of positive and proven impact in communities across the nation helped make federal support for incentives a permanent part of future farm bills.
NOFA VT 3SquaresVT (SNAP)
Find out how the state of Vermont manages SNAP and EBT through their programs called, 3SquaresVT and Vermont Express.
The Ecology Center The Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market EBT Program assists farmers’ market operators and community partners in establishing, implementing, and promoting CalFresh EBT access at farmers’ markets and other direct-marketing locations. This link also has an online toolkit that assists in establishing or strengthening an EBT program.
USDA Farmers’ Markets This page includes information on how SNAP, nutrition education and public health approaches can be used at farmers’ markets.
NC Dept. of Health and Human Services Food and Nutrition Services  This NCDHHS page shows the three ways an individual or household can apply for Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps). It also includes English and Spanish tutorials on what ePass is and how to use it.
USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) This USDA page houses information on SNAP eligibility for recipients and how it can be used/applied for as a retailer, state/local agency or farmer.
USDA Local Food Directories: National Farmers Market Directory Search for any farmers’ market in the country by name, products available, accepted payment or market location. Limit the search to NC and then check SNAP under Payment Accepted for a regularly updated listing.
Food Access This Extension page contains information on food access and food security. It includes approaches to analyzing access, examples of projects and programs, and data resources.
State Nutrition Action Coalition (SNAC) North Carolina’s SNAC is a state-level collaborative between state agencies and nonprofits that implement the USDA and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs. 
Donation Stations This program seeks to improve access to fresh, locally-grown food while supporting the farmers who grow it. It is designed to combat local food insecurity while raising awareness that a healthy local food system must include every member of the community.

:Publications

Resource Description
Food Stamps and Farmers Markets: A Shopper’s Advice For Buying Local with SNAP Farmers’ Market Coalition, 2016.
Market Currency Feasibility Report Dar Wolnik, 2013.
A Brief Overview of Existing Reports and Resources on Effective Technology Options for Processing EBT at Farmers Markets Farmers’ Market Coalition, January 2013.
Nutrition Incentives at Farmers Markets Based on visits and interviews, this report from Farmers’ Market Coalition profiles pilot programs that match and expand SNAP, WIC FMNP, and SFMNP dollars spent at farmers’ markets. November 2013.