This economy keeps grinding people down and makes it harder to afford basics like healthy foods. One way the government is trying to ameliorate the situation is by expanding the acceptance of food stamps at farmers' markets.
According to the online news site Grist, the number of farmers' markets that accept food stamps has quadrupled since 2008 -- but they still number less than a quarter of the 7,000 venues nationwide that sell locally-grown produce.
The good news for San Leandro is that we're at the head of the curve.
"We accept WIC coupons and SNAP (food stamp) benefit cards," said Barbara Ambler-Thomas of the Bayfair Farmers' Market (Saturday 9am-1pm).
The same is true for the market on Parrott Street, which also accepts government coupons for low-income seniors, according to James Cochran of the Downtown Farmers' Market (Wednesday 4pm-8pm)
The Los Angeles Times recently wrote about food stamps and the role of farmers' markets:
"The number of food stamp recipients peaked last year at nearly 45 million, as did the cost of the program -- $78 billion. One in seven Americans received food stamps at some point in 2011 . . . Of the $64 billion food stamp dollars that were redeemed in 2010 -- the most recent year for which data are available -- .012% moved through farmers markets."