According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) farmers markets have been increasing in popularity over the past few years.More of these markets are starting to accept food assistant programs as a form of payment.Some local markets, like that in Sylvester, are excepting Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards.
"In these hard economic times we have a lot of people on EBT, Food Stamps, so we wanted to be able to offer that as a way to promote the farmers market as well as healthier food choices", said Brittany Evans, who is in charge of Marketing for the City of Sylvester.
The Sylvester Farmers Market was able to get their EBT machine without any expense to them due to a USDA Grant.The EBT machine allows people have a certain amount of money deducted off their card in exchange for tokens. The tokens are then used as currency to buy fresh produce. The farmer TMs cash in their tokens after the market is over.Evens reports there has been around $400 in EBT transactions since June.
The Downtown Albany Farmers market is following in Sylvester TMs footsteps, and have recently acquired an EBT Machine of their own. According to officials it will be about a months until the machine is operational.
By using their EBT card to support the local farmers people are also supporting the local economy.
Evans said, "When you TMre investing in your local agriculture right here at this farmers market, that money is going to be circulated at least 3 or 4 times before it leaves this county."
Both of these farmers markets are held Saturday morning. Albany TMs start at 8am with Sylvester TMs starting at 9am.