A new, streamlined process for becoming authorized Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vendors has been developed to help farmers and markets accept SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). MarketLink is a website provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) that provides information and assistance to vendors who would like to accept SNAP benefits.

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Up to $4 million in grants and equipment available!

For those who qualify, grant funding will be available through September 30, 2014. MarketLink is a great resource – providing markets and vendors with information on wireless equipment providers, wireless plans, USDA approved payment processors along with their rates and terms, and other relevant links to become authorized SNAP retailers. Information is also included for determining eligibility for free EBT equipment

Formed from a partnership between the USDA, FNS and the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP), this resource  is provided in an effort to increase access to SNAP benefits at farmers markets – helping to prevent hunger for millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families in the U.S. It also provides farmers with access to an expanded customer base.

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The USDA states that MarketLink will help ensure that families and individuals in need, “have access to even more fresh fruits and vegetables by upgrading the infrastructure at america’s farmers markets to accept SNAP benefits.”

Since 2007, Missoula farmers markets have been equipped to accept EBT benefits from their customers. Read more about this and other CFAC success stories! Across the country, farmers markets are experiencing tremendous growth and with it the need for SNAP redemption. From 2008 to 2013, Farmers Markets have increased from about 5,000 to over 8,000. The USDA National Farmers Market Directory lists about half as authorized to accept SNAP benefits. Meanwhile, between 2011 and 2013, SNAP redemption rates at farmers markets have nearly doubled from $11.7 million to $20.4 million.

it’s a snap! take advantage of this opportunity by visiting MarketLink – make your 2014 season the best yet!