Posted on Fri, July 06, 2012 by Slow Food USA
0 Comments | Categories: Food Justice, Slow Food Chapters in Action,
Written by Janette Wesley, Slow Food Upstate Chapter Leader
After a long and detailed application process with completion of a required training session, the Slow Food Upstate Board who manages the Earth Market Greenville, celebrates the approved EBT status in June of 2012 and will be able to accept EBT or SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, as payment for food products, (also plants and seeds that bear food), an essential part of the goals in the philosophy of “Good, Clean and Fair” food.
E.B.T.-Electronic Benefits Transfer, the newer version of food stamps, is an electronic system in the United States funded by the Federal Government, which allows government’s states benefits departments to issue money, accessible via a plastic debit card or a paper voucher in exchange for food or seeds and plants which produce food.
The EBT SNAP program is funded by the Food and Farm Bill, a complicated piece of legislature, re-authorized every five years or so. Congress is currently working on the passage of the 2012 Food and Farm Bill (for an update on the Senate version of the Bill, click here.) The latest passage by the Senate preserves 99.5% of the SNAP budget, yet the upcoming House of Representatives proposal could cut the benefits by at least 25% (the House recently released a draft found here).
The Senate passage included “Hunger-Free Community Incentive Grants” aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable purchases by SNAP customers at farmers’ markets for $20 million a year, and also provided an amendment to permit SNAP redemption by Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s). These efforts help to support the most at risk in the nation, but also that helps support practical food business for the small and midsized food producers
There are over 7,100 farmers markets across the USA but only 1500 of them have the capacity to accept EBT, data the Fair Food Network and Wholesome Wave organization are working to change. Although the application process is very thorough, and correctly so, there is ample help to make the EBT program successful. There is a USDA booklet especially designed to help farmers markets succeed with EBT sales, and the FNS has done extensive studies on the feasibility of EBT at farmers markets with their study available to the public, a helpful aid for any farmers’ market manager
“SNAP touches the lives of one in seven Americans” and in “2010, SNAP provided $1.3 billion dollars in food benefits to a monthly average of over 797,110 people in South Carolina” alone. “SNAP also has an economic multiplier effect with every $5.00 in new SNAP benefits generating as much as $9.00 in total economic activity.” –The USDA Data from the USDA shows that, as of February 2012, 46.3 million Americans were enrolled in SNAP – an increase of 4.8% from the previous year.
According to the U.S.D.A. Food and Nutrition Service Office of Research and Analysis, in 2010, District 4 (the most immediate area in the surrounding the Earth Market Greenville, there were 25, 987 households receiving SNAP benefits
“The United States Department of Agriculture and The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is seeking innovative ways to promote the consumption of healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) clients. One of these initiatives involves increasing client access to farmers markets.” -The USDA
A summary of these numbers add up to creating a good, clean and fair Earth Market for both the producer and the consumer, as EBT funds will be spent with farmers and food producers who work in amazing ways to keep the earth clean and vibrant. This is a positive and exciting element of the Earth Market Greenville.
The Earth Market Greenville is in high spirits to offer this service to Earth Market shoppers and their families. A major part of the Slow Food philosophy is that good, clean food be available fairly to everyone. Accepting EBT is a great benefit not only to EBT card holders, but to the food producers as well, and it is Slow Food Upstate’s goal to help the approved producers succeed with increased sales.
Slow Food Upstate also features “Buy an Extra Helping for the Hungry” a food collection basket so that everyone can give something extra and at the close of the day, these products donated by shoppers and producers alike are taken to a local soup kitchen.
“We believe that food is a universal right. Food that is fair should be accessible to all, regardless of income, and produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.” -Slow Food USA
Earth Markets seek a lasting change in the social, economic, and environmental aspects of the food system. Everyone loves to eat good food. Earth Markets are for everyone. Learn more at www.slowfoodupstate.com