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SNAP Matching Program at ND Farmers Markets Supports Local Producers

Some North Dakota farmers markets offer tips for how to cook fresh produce. (Lance Cheung/U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
Some North Dakota farmers markets offer tips for how to cook fresh produce. (Lance Cheung/U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
June 21, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota recipients of SNAP benefits have a chance to make those benefits go farther and toward healthy choices this summer.

Farmers markets in Bismarck and Fargo offer matching incentives for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, meaning folks' EBT dollars go twice as far on fresh produce.

Jan Stankiewicz, a community health and nutrition specialist with North Dakota State University Extension, says these programs support local farmers.

"It also provides economic benefit to those local producers,” she points out. “So we're bringing folks to farmers markets that might not otherwise have gone. We're increasing their customer base and increasing their reach, which puts economic benefit back into the community."

People in the Bismarck area can get up to $15 matched at the BisMarket. In the Fargo area, the Red River Market is matching up to $10.

The North Dakota Department of Human Services distributes about $7 million in food benefits each month.

Stankiewicz says some producers at farmers markets also offer tips on how to prepare the food.

"Maybe there's a sampling, like a recipe sampling or recipe demo or cooking demo, so folks can taste the food before they buy it, which really helps so that they know that they're going to use the food once they get home," she states.

The SNAP program currently is embroiled in the debate over this year's Farm Bill. A House version of the bill that would have put strict work requirements on recipients of the program failed to gain support in a May vote.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND