iDevice program streamlines farmers’ market purchases

This year, it will be even easier to shop at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market with EBT, WIC and Double Up Food Bucks. Market customers will be able to make these purchases directly from the market vendors rather than wait in line for tokens at the market welcome table.

Farmers’ market vendors throughout the state will use iDevices for processing WIC, WIC Project FRESH, Summer EBT for Children, SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks transactions for their customers. The Our Kitchen Table (OKT) market management team and our local vendors are undergoing training in May to prepare for this change.

The state is providing the devices free of charge to all market vendors throughout the state accepting Bridge/EBT cards. The question comes to mind as to whether this is the wisest way to spend monies budgeted for providing food insecure Michigan residents with access to much needed fresh produce.

During the 2011 market season, the Garfield Gerald R Ford Middle School market locations processed a large number of EBT and Double UP Food Bucks transactions. With Double Up Food Bucks, market patrons can double their buying power. For every dollar they spend on fresh Michigan produce with their EBT/SNAP card at the markets, they receive two dollars’ worth, up to $20 ($40 in food).

Other local farmers’ markets accepting EBT, WIC and Double Up Food Bucks are Fulton Street Farmers’ Market, Plainfield Township Farmers’ Market, Sparta Farmers’ Market and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids Farmers’ Market. This year, OKT also hopes to offer market patrons the opportunity to sign up for other government assistance programs when they visit the market.

The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is committed to improving access to fresh healthy foods in our urban neighborhoods. Market season begins June 2 at the Garfield Park location and June 15 at the Gerald R Ford location. Please spread the word!