Homer Farmers Market: SNAP program doubles Market tokens

SNAP doubling program makes fresh, locally grown food accessible to everyone.

August at the Homer Farmers Market is so abundant. Just look at all the heaps of colors of the fully-laden tables and booths at the Market. There are carrots, zucchinis, snow peas and shell peas, chard and greens, radish and kale. There is garlic in braids and onions in bunches and, coming this week, new potatoes of all colors. There is cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Everyone should be able to eat like this.

And to that end the Market has done its best to make sure that everyone has access to these veggies. For years when the food stamp program went over to a debit card system, this new SNAP benefits program made it impossible for customers to shop at a farmers market. For most farmers, accepting credit cards for a few dollars’ worth of veggies was not worth the hassle.

But the Homer Farmers Market has a central credit card machine where you can swipe your credit or debit card and get Market coins to use with vendors if you forget cash. This is great for SNAP users because now they can also use their benefits at the Market.

But let’s say that you have a few dollars left on your QUEST card. Are you going to prioritize fresh healthy veggies over the largest quantity of cheap food for your family? Probably not. Our cheap factory food system makes healthy food less accessible to those with less money.

That’s why the Market has the SNAP Doubling Program. If you swipe your QUEST card for $10, you will get handed $20 worth of tokens to spend. You can double up to $40 each Market. That means fresh veggies make sense even on the tightest budget.

The point is to make our farmers’ bounty available to everyone. In this same spirit we ask that folks kindly wear masks when shopping.

I know, I know, it’s an outdoor market, but we strive to make it as easy, comfortable and healthy for all patrons and farmers. We really appreciate everyone’s support and community spirit.

So come on down to the Market this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. and enjoy the local abundance.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.