Sunday, April 3, 2011

Should More Farmer's Markets Accept SNAP?

I saw a short piece in a small, local paper regarding the acceptance of SNAP at one of the local farmer's markets. I didn't know what SNAP was till I read the piece, and I am not sure if it is called by the same name across the country, but SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or what was once called Food Stamps. 

Even though we no longer have our co-op, 75% of our grocery shopping is fresh produce and when we can buy local, we do. Because of this we grocery shop once every week, and frequent our local and nearby farmer's markets during the summer. On these grocery trips, I am amazed by the amount of dead food that other folks buy.  

Seriously, I had my first TV dinner when I was 19 and it was so disgusting, but it was supposedly one of the better versions. The funny thing was that I thought I was being deprived for so many years by a mother that raised me on fresh, home cooked meals where everything was made from scratch and healthy.  

I think a lot of people make the mistake of believing that they can get more for their money by using coupons for processed foods than they could if they purchased fresh produce and meat. If you shop smart and prepare your meals yourself, you can actually spend a considerably greater amount per serving/meal and never have to use a grocery coupon. 

But back to my original topic. I was very pleased to find out that the largest farmer's market in our area started accepting SNAP last year. How cool is that? A huge percentage of those on SNAP are families, and families mean children, and the importance of healthy eating habits for children goes without saying. 

To encourage SNAP users to shop the market and add more fresh produce to their diets, the market is recruiting corporate sponsors to reduce the cost of produce for those that use their assistance here. 

I think more farmer's markets should accept SNAP, but there are some that are opposed to the idea. I asked and apparently, the use of them, nor will the potential corporate sponsorships, cut into farmer's profits. What do you think? Should more farmer's markets accept SNAP?