FOG offers SNAP recipients (formerly food stamps) the opportunity use their benefits to purchase food at two farmers markets in Alachua County; the Saturday Alachua County Farmers Market, and the Wednesday Union Street Farmers Market. Debit/Credit capabilities also available.
WHO CAN USE THIS SERVICE?
EBT technology allows those with SNAP benefits (food stamps) to use their EBT cards at the farmers markets to purchase acceptable items.
Those who wish to use debit or credit cards will also be able to use their cards at the market, for a $2 convenience charge, much like an ATM, that will assist in funding the continuing availability of the project’s continuation.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The project uses a token system to enable customers with EBT, Debit or Credit Cards to shop at the farmers markets. Here’s how it works:
1. A customer swipes the EBT, Debit or Credit card at the central POS terminal and enters the PIN.
2. The FOG staff enters the amount of tokens requested into the terminal.
3. Once the transaction is approved, the customer is given a transaction receipt and tokens.
4. The customer then uses the tokens at any participating vendor’s stand.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
The Union Street Farmers Market is highly accessible in downtown Gainesville at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. It is in close proximity to the Rosa Parks RTS Downtown Station servicing numerous bus routes, and to social service agencies and meal sites. The Alachua County Farmers Market at the SE corner of the intersection of State Road 121 (NW 34th Street), and U.S. 441 (NW 13th Street), 3.2 miles north of University Avenue, is also easily accessible from areas of the urban Gainesville and rural Alachua County community, and by bus routes from Gainesville.
WHY SHOULD I SHOP AT THE FARMERS MARKET?
A diet consisting of at least five servings (2 to 3 cups) of fruits and vegetables daily decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers. Those who consume eight or more servings are 22 percent less likely to die from heart disease than those who consume three or fewer servings a day. Buying from a farmers market means you’re able to purchase food often picked within a couple days of the market date, so its nutritional quality is still high, and it oftentimes hasn’t traveled across the country using valuable fuel resources. It also means your dollar is going back into the local economy, helping the farmers and other business owners in the community.
WHAT ELSE WILL BE OFFERED?
The on-site market booth will be an informational and education hub, with community resources on gardening, cooking, community events and opportunities. It will also provide a place where people can enroll in SNAP on a laptop or paper application.