St. Louis Farmers Markets Launch Fundraiser for Food Stamp Matching Dollars Program
Schlafly Farmer’s Market Manager Brian DeSmet says Missouri has one of the highest percentages of eligible people who are registered for food stamps (also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) in the country.
But many SNAP-eligible retailers, such as gas stations and corner stores, aren’t necessarily the best place to get good, healthy food, he says.
Several St. Louis farmers markets aim to change that by creating a program to enable more people to use SNAP at the markets in town.
On Monday, the St. Louis Farmers Market Association launched a month-long fundraiser designed to make farmers’ markets more affordable to low-income households. The SNAP 2 It! Indiegogo campaign aims to raise $3,000 by Aug. 15, and the money raised will go directly to SNAP recipients to increase their buying power at local producer-only farmers markets.
It’s a double-dollar program, so, for instance, if someone were to use their electronic benefits card at a market for $10, they’d be provided with $20 worth of food.
The project is based on similar programs across the country like Beans & Greens in Kansas City and Double Up Food Bucks in Michigan, which the Farmers Market Association says have shown remarkable success in increasing access to local, healthy foods for low-income families as well as increasing income for local farmers.
Missourians spend more than $1.4 billion dollars in SNAP funds each year, the Association says, and this program makes sure that more of that money stays in the local economy by going to local farmers and food entrepreneurs.
“Creating a SNAP matching dollar program for our city is a win-win for all parties,” DeSmet says. “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.”
Six farmers markets in St. Louis currently take SNAP: Cherokee St. International Farmers Market, EarthDance Farms (at Ferguson Farmers Market), International Institute of St. Louis’ Global Farms, North City Farmers’ Market, Schlafly Farmers Market, Tower Grove Farmers’ Market and Webster Grove Farmers Market.