Indigogo Campaign Aims to Double Food-Stamp Buying Power at Local Farmers' Markets

Categories: Food News

SNAP2ITcropped.jpg
Laura Caldie

Everyone knows that food stamps (known now as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) provides monetary assistance to low-income individuals and families to buy groceries. But not everyone may realize that there are now six farmers' markets in St. Louis that accept SNAP cards.

There's just one problem -- not a lot of SNAP dollars are spent there. Junk food often costs considerably less, while small, local farms are labor intensive and, thus, charge more than the average supermarket chain for similar items.

Brian DeSmet, manager of the Schlafly Farmers Market, wants to change that. But he needs the public's help.

See also: The Living Room and Art House Coffees to Take Over Black Cat Theatre

On Monday, July 14, the St. Louis Farmers Market Association launched "SNAP 2 IT!", an Indigogo campaign created raise funds for a "double buck" program designed to make farmers' market food affordable for low-income households. If successfully funded, the "SNAP 2 It!" program would match up to $10 of SNAP funds per visit. So, for example, a $2 tomato at a farmers' market would take just $1 out of the customer's available SNAP funds.

"Creating a SNAP matching-dollar program for our city is a win-win for all parties," writes DeSmet in an email to Gut Check. "It helps to make healthy food more affordable for low-income residents, increases income for small family farmers and keeps more SNAP funds in our local economy."

The campaign is based on programs such as the Double Up Bucks program in Michigan. This program uses funding from a combination of private and community foundations, and corporations to match up to $20 per visit.

DeSmet was instrumental in setting up the SNAP program for the Tower Grove Farmers Market and Schalfly Farmers Market and has been researching options for making local food affordable for years. His fundraising goal is $3,000 (though, if the target is reached before the end of the 30 days, it will be extended to $5,000), which would be enough to finish out the summer growing season. If the campaign is successful, the double-bucks option will be available at the Cherokee Street International Farmers Market, EarthDance Farms at Ferguson Farmers Market (coming soon), International Institute of St. Louis Global Farms, North City Farmers Market, Schlafly Farmers Market and the Webster Groves Farmers Market. (Though Tower Grove Farmers Market also accepts SNAP dollars, it just secured its own funding for a match program from the United Way.)

DeSmet hopes this will be the first step to permanently establishing a farmers' market SNAP double-bucks program in St. Louis.

Donors can contribute to the campaign by clicking here.

Follow Sara Graham on Instagram at @SaraSunshineSTL and Twitter at @SaraSunshineSTL. E-mail the author at saralouisegraham@yahoo.com.




My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
Kate Tabers
Kate Tabers

Some of the vendors at Soulard take food stamps already.

Michelle Accardi
Michelle Accardi

Part of the idea of the stamps is for the person/family to eat healthy. It should be automatic that the markets can take the stamps.

Drew Gowran
Drew Gowran

Poor people need to eat healthy. What a great option.

Michael Branch
Michael Branch

So the titty bars and casinos take food stamps but not a place with food? Weird

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

You make it sound like a bad thing Alexandra. \U0001f604

Suzette Eich
Suzette Eich

Very true! Love the comment. Maybe you should work for farmers to. Farmers get food stamps to.

Alexandra Lugger
Alexandra Lugger

..... are you suggesting indentured servitude lol? Look, they're getting the benefits as it is, there's nothing wrong with expanding their purchasing options.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Ya well they can still pay their fair share.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Or maybe have the people on food stamps work for local farmers?

Alexandra Lugger
Alexandra Lugger

Loves it! Farmer's Markets are such a fun way to explore and discover beautiful, fresh food. Definitely guiding folks in the right direction.

Ashley Johnson
Ashley Johnson

I find that I get better deals on and better tasting produce at the farmer's market. But this sounds like an excellent plan. Cheaper food while also helping people to eat healthier. Can't go wrong with that. On my way to donate!

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...