Athens Farmers Market Attracts SNAP-Benefit Customers

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It’s late April, which means the Athens Farmers Market is open again on Wednesdays, but while the extra day may not be as big of a draw as the weekend edition, it does benefit Athens’ most food needy by giving residents using SNAP benefits another chance at buying local, organic produce – unusual for most farmers markets.

Normally farmers’ markets accept only cash and on rare occasions credit cards. Given that farmers’ markets are a collection of many farmers with their own private stands running the entire operation, coordinating SNAP benefits can be difficult.

But in a county as food insecure as Athens, this farmers market is helping those most in need.

When arriving at the Athens’ Farmers’ Market, a tent at one end is set up specifically for those using SNAP benefits. A swipe of their SNAP card and these customers are given tokens to use as currency at the different stands. The farmers have all agreed to accept the tokens from those specific shoppers.

At the end of the day, the farmers can redeem those tokens for cash.

Providing this option not only benefits the farmers by increasing their business, but it also allows SNAP-benefit users the opportunity to buy local organic produce – providing healthier food while stimulating the local economy.