EBT table volunteers Dawn Barnes and Mary Beth Pulcifer
EBT table volunteers Dawn Barnes and Mary Beth Pulcifer
The Floyd Farmers Market has developed a reputation for local quality meat, vegetables, eggs, bread and other products. But did you know low-income residents on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can get double-value for their money when buying at the market?

SustainFloyd offers a program by which people with SNAP/EBT (food stamps) can use their benefits and receive matching funds to spend on local food produced by Floyd vendors. The program makes Farmers Market prices more than competitive with those found at grocery stores, and it helps keep those dollars spent within the community as well.

Here’s how it works: Come to the Farmers Market on Saturday or to the Mobile Farmers Market in Check on Wednesday or Riner on Thursday. Present your EBT card and tell the folks there how much you’d like to spend from your benefits. For example, if you spend $5 in SNAP benefits, you’ll get $10 in Farmers Market tokens to spend. If you spend $20 in SNAP benefits, you’ll get $40 in tokens.

What does that buy? Some examples from last Saturday’s market: Ground beef and steaks from Old Millstone Farm in Check; apples, vegetables and sausage from Good Food – Good People; eggs, raspberries and lettuce from Riverstone Organic Farm; freshly made bread from Grateful Bread; and much more.

So how do the prices compare to the grocery store? They’re pretty close, if not better, especially once you factor in the double-value program.

Farmers Market Manager Marsha Krigsvold made some price comparisons in late August:

• A bag of spinach: $2.50 at a local grocery, and $3.25 ($1.68 in SNAP benefits) at the Farmers Market.
• Heirloom slicer tomatoes: $1.69-1.89/lb. at the grocery store, and $3/lb. ($1.50/lb. in SNAP) at the Farmers Market.
• Apples: $1 to $1.49/lb. at the grocery store, and $1.50/lb. ($0.75/lb. in SNAP) at the Farmers Market.
• Beef: $3.49/lb. at the grocery store, and $6.50-9.45/lb. ($3.25-4.73/lb. in SNAP)

More price comparisons, including those with a health food store and other regional farmers markets, are available in an Excel spreadsheet here: Comparison of Market Prices Sep 3 2013

One additional benefit of using your SNAP benefits at the Floyd Farmers Market: All of the food there was grown or made in Floyd County or one of its neighboring counties, so every dollar spent stays in the community. Shopping at the Farmers Market supports your neighbors who own businesses and sell there.

If you can’t make it to the Floyd Farmers Market during its operating hours from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, you can still buy local products with your EBT card from our Mobile Farmers Market. Shanti Miller and Misty Harris run the Mobile Farmers Market from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday at Check Elementary School and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday at Simmons Grocery in Riner. Just look for the “Fresh Food Floyd” truck.