EBT Program Now Operating at Market

Young shoppers at the weekly farmers market. (Submitted Photo)

JAMESTOWN – Those with food stamp benefits are now able to use their food stamp (EBT) card at the Univera Healthcare Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market. This electronic transaction is made possible through wireless technology, which is set up at the market manager’s booth. Upon arrival to the market, food stamp customers can use their card to purchase $1 wooden tokens. These tokens then function as cash within the market.

At the market, EBT- card holders are able to purchase food-stamp authorized goods such as: fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, maple syrup and other maple products, honey, breads, baked goods, jams and jellies, processed foods and even seeds and plants which produce food.

“When it comes to food stamp customers, we’re trying to emphasize that their benefits can go farther than they may have thought at the farmers market. Not only are they able to obtain farm-fresh food, they have access to vendors and farmers who are ready and willing to share advice, tips and recipes,” says Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Federation of NY.

And it’s not just food stamp customers who are benefiting from the ability to use their cards at the Univera Healthcare Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market. Farmers and vendors are benefiting from the increased sales and traffic at the market as they are able to redeem the tokens for a 100% cash exchange.

The market will also begin accepting credit and debit cards for market purchases this week.  Credit and debit wooden tokens may be purchased at the same booth as the EBT tokens with each token having a $5 value.  VISA and Mastercard accepted.

Both tokens can be used week-to-week or any un-used tokens maybe returned for a refund.

“Now, food stamp customers have access to the freshest, healthiest produce and products that New York State has to offer” says Tiffani Conti, of the Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market. “By providing these payment options we are able to expand to the customers who normally do not carry cash and increase sales for the vendors who do not already accept food stamps or credit transactions.”

Bring your lunch from one of downtown Jamestown’s eateries or visit one of the market food vendors including Elegant Edibles Catering, Big Pitt BBQ, and Planet Earth Catering.  The market will feature Ken Hardley and Bess Raynor performing from 12-1 p.m.  Eat Smart New York will also provide a food demonstration using fresh, local produce from the market farmers and providing samples to market-goers.

DJDC invites the local youth community to participate in the Farmers Market Kids! Eat Local Challenge. Kids! Eat Local Challenge is a fun contest that encourages kids to eat local and learn about local produce. There are nine different tasks available and each entry must complete a minimum of four tasks to enter.

The challenge will run through the 2012 market season with a winner drawn at the Univera Healthcare Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market on Friday, October 19. Three prizes will be awarded with 1st place receiving a 1 year membership to the Jamestown YMCA. Entry forms available online at www.discoverjamestown.com or at the farmer’s market information booth.

For more information on the farmers market visit www.discoverjamestown.com or call DJDC at 664-2477.

The Farmers Market Federation of NY is a grassroots organization comprised of market managers, farmers, sponsors, and supporters who are dedicated to promoting local farmers markets throughout New York State.Through innovative partnerships, services and programs – such as the one described above – the Federation aims to benefit the farmers, consumers, and local communities each farmers market serves. For further information, please contact Tiffani Conti at tconti@discoverjamestown.com or call 664-2477, ext. 226.