The Conservation Beat
4:49 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

New Grant Aims to Bring Local Produce to Low Income New Mexicans

As part of a new $4 million US Department of Agriculture initiative, New Mexico will get about $35-thousand dollars to help make farmers market produce available to food stamp recipients. 

About half of New Mexico’s 60-plus farmers markets already accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits.  But Denise Miller with the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association says the new grant will hopefully bring needed wireless technology to all the rest. 

"Many markets are in parking lots or outdoors where they don't have access to electricity. When they have a wireless system, they are able to connect via satellite data to information on the SNAP cards."

Miller says most markets that take SNAP started doing so only recently, thanks in large part to a federal stimulus program that doubled the value of benefits at farmers markets  in 2010.

According to a press release from the office of Senator Tom Udall, SNAP spending at farmers markets has quadrupled in the last four years.