SNAP/CalFresh Sign-Up Event for Local Farmers’ Markets

Taylor HillmanGeneral

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service—in partnership with National Hmong American Farmers and the California Department of Social Services—will host a CalFresh (federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) Farmers Retail Sign-up Day. Across the country, consumers are enjoying more opportunities to buy food directly from their local farmers. State and Federal agencies and local partners are working together to also increase CalFresh recipients’ access to farmers’ fresh products.

“Thanks to local farmers, we have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods here in California,” said Jesus Mendoza, Jr., Western Regional Administrator for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. “We want to expand access to these foods, and their health benefits, to those participating in CalFresh.” Mr. Mendoza encourages individual farmers and farmers’ market managers who are not currently participating in the CalFresh Program to attend this special sign-up event. Farmers’ markets, farm stands, and community-supported agriculture programs can be authorized for CalFresh.

The CalFresh Farmers Retail sign-up event will provide a one-stop-shop to help farmers and farmers’ market managers get authorized and receive advice for marketing their services to CalFresh households. Grants are also available for free wireless Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) equipment.

Last year, CalFresh recipients received an average of $141 in benefits each month and spent more than $3.8 million dollars at California farmers’ markets. The ability to accept CalFresh benefits helps farmers increase their customer base and provide economic benefits for themselves and local communities. Currently in California, there are over 460 individual farmers and farmers’ markets authorized to accept CalFresh. Farmers and farmers’ market managers who are interested in becoming an authorized CalFresh Retailer should bring the following items to the sign-up event:

1. Picture ID (driver’s license or passport)
2. Social Security Card (or other official document with your name and SSN)
3. Copy of voided check for bank account you will use to deposit funds

WHEN: Thursday, Apr. 30, 2015 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: National Farm Conference
Ramada Inn Fresno
324 E Shaw Ave.
Fresno, CA 93710

USDA Food and Nutrition Service works to improve childhood nutrition and empower families to make healthier food choices by expanding the availability of healthy food and offering tools to help in the process. This effort is supported when farmers and farmers’ markets accept SNAP. Farmers can sell a variety of eligible foods and beverages through SNAP, including fruits and vegetables; fish, meat, and poultry; dairy and eggs; breads, honey, and jams; and seeds and plants that produce food for households to eat.

SNAP authorized farmers and farmers’ markets can also participate in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.