UACES Facebook Number of Arkansas farmers markets accepting SNAP benefits rises

Number of Arkansas farmers markets accepting SNAP benefits rises

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • More than 100 farmers markets in Arkansas; most showing rise in customers
  • Number of direct-to-consumer outlets accepting SNAP up 500 percent from 2014

(240 words)

(Newsrooms: With MAINBAR 06-09-2017-Ark-Farmers-Markets)

LITTLE ROCK – Farmers markets and farm stands are expanding their role in helping decrease food security in Arkansas, said Ron Rainey, extension economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 

photo 1 Farmers Market
Rice Expo Farmers Market. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo).

Key to this is SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a program that benefits an average of nearly 470,000 Arkansans a month. (See: https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/ops/Arkansas.pdf)

“According to Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, 90 market vendors, which include farm stands and farmers markets, accept SNAP benefits,” Rainey said. “This estimate represents an increase of 500 percent since 2014.”

A number of vendors also offer “Double Dollars,” an incentive that enhances SNAP benefits at their local markets, he said. Finding those markets offering SNAP benefits will become easier in the coming weeks.

“Those who want to find farmers markets across Arkansas can do so at the Arkansas MarketMaker site,” Rainey said.

Arkansas MarketMaker is part of a national network that connect farmers and fishermen with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs, and consumers. Arkansas MarketMaker, https://ar.foodmarketmaker.com, includes a directory to help consumers find their local marketing farmers. 

Finding farmers markets and farm stands that accept SNAP will soon be easier, he said.

“Site visitors will soon be able to search MarketMaker to find farmers markets that offer SNAP benefits,” Rainey said.

In his first appearance before the House Committee on Agriculture, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue underscored the role that farmers market play providing fresh produce to local communities.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

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