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Our Farmers' Markets Get Fresh Food To Low Income Folks

San Leandro's two markets are leaders in accepting food stamps which give those in need a shot at fresh and healthy foods.

 

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."

Thanks to the Ashland-Cherryland Garden and Arts Network for flagging the issue. Read more about urban agriculture and sustainable food on Patch.

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Patricia Minnis May 26, 2012 at 04:02 PM
As a volunteer in the Information Booth at the Wednesday Downtown Farmer's Market, it is a pleasure to process the EBT cards and dole out tokens. Folks are constantly asking for opinions on the best fresh fruits and vegetables. An added bonus is that there are always plenty of FREE recipes available at the Information Booth. Nice article Tom. Patricia Minnis Citizens for a Safer San Leandro
Leah Hall May 26, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Very cool! Thanks for sharing the good news, Patricia!
Tom Abate (Editor) May 27, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I've noticed that a lot of the products at the Wednesday market are gourmet items but there are some basic fruit and vegetable bargains. My sense is that the Saturday market has more basics, though it too has lots of higher-priced specialties. It is good to have the EBT option and thanks, Patricia, for letting us know how to use it. I didn't ask that question.
Robert Bartlett May 27, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I'm just happy more and more local farmers markets are accepting EBT cards. It really helps low income families get more access to fresh food. Plus it helps the economy and the local small businesses. http://www.localfarmersmarkets.net/
Megan October 09, 2012 at 09:54 PM
GO EBT !!!!! LOVE IT
Megan October 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
EBT AREN'T FOR ONLY LOW INCOME FAMILIES... I AM WHITE AND I USE EBT TO .

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