By Colleen Davis
People who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as of June 1, sometimes called EBT, will be able to stretch their purchasing power for New Mexico-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at more than 30 farmers’ markets across the state, including at the Sierra County Farmers’ Market.
The SNAP Double Up Food Bucks program provides SNAP customers a one-to-one match for their food purchases. For example, when a customer scans $20 from a SNAP EBT card at a participating farmers’ market, they will receive an additional $20 to spend at the market on locally grown fresh produce.
A program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, SNAP helps low-income families purchase food at SNAP-authorized retailers, such as grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
“Incentive programs like Double Up Food Bucks are a win for everyone; low-income families bring home healthier foods, local farmers sell their fresh produce, and communities see food dollars go back into the local economy,” said Denise Miller, executive director of the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association.
SNAP incentive programs at New Mexico farmers’ markets have run on a limited basis since 2010, said Miller, but it was not possible to provide statewide funding for the program until now.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as the Farm Bill) included $100 million for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program to encourage the purchase of produce through SNAP. The New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association was awarded $100,000 by USDA for the SNAP Double Up Food Bucks program. That federal funding became available June 1.
Funding will expand July 1 when $400,000 appropriated by the New Mexico legislature this past session becomes available.