Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Minority-owned Southern businesses get back on their feet post-pandemic with a fund's help; President Biden says don't panic over the new COVID variant; and eye doctors gauge the risk of dying from COVID.


U.S. Senate is back in session with a long holiday to-do list that includes avoiding a government shutdown; negotiations to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal resume; and Jack Dorsey resigns as CEO of Twitter.


South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

MN Lawmakers Urged to Spare 'Market Bucks' Funding


Monday, June 7, 2021   

An earlier version of this story said the Market Bucks subsidy is $375,000. It's now being reported at $325,000.

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. - A popular program that gives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients better access to healthier foods at Minnesota farmers markets has been tied up in budget talks at the state Capitol. Supporters say it not only helps consumers in need, but also boosts local economies.

Market Bucks works by giving SNAP customers a dollar-for-dollar match when they make purchases at a participating farmers market. That match comes with a $10.

So if they spend $20, they can get an extra $10 to buy other food items. Birdie Pederson, the treasurer and the person who oversees the Little Falls farmers market, described it as a "win-win" scenario.

"For the people eligible to use Market Bucks, it advances their opportunity to purchase their food locally," said Pederson. "At the same time, to our local farmers, our local vendors, it gives us a greater profit."

An annual report from the group Hunger Solutions says through SNAP and Market Bucks purchases last year, more than $600,000 in economic activity was created for communities across the state.

The program is funded through a $325,000 state subsidy, but Senate Republicans resist renewing it, citing concerns over customers misusing the funds. But program operators say there's no evidence of that.

Kathy Zeman - executive director of the Minnesota Farmers Market Association - argued the program is widely popular, noting that the available funding gets used up each cycle. And she said there are even more opportunities to connect customers with local producers.

"Now that our direct-marketing farmers can also accept SNAP," said Zeman, "there's going to be a bigger need to get Market Bucks in their hands."

Market Bucks, which is co-administered by Hunger Solutions, are accepted at 99 participating markets around the state.

Lawmakers are racing to meet a July 1 budget deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Legislative leaders and the governor have agreed to a framework, but still need to sort out many details.

get more stories like this via email
The proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge is key habitat to the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly. (Eric Porter/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


HEMET, Calif. -- Public-lands groups are asking Congress to support the proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge, a 500,000-acre swath …

Social Issues

PRINCETON, Minn. -- President Joe Biden is expected to visit Minnesota today to tout passage of the new federal infrastructure bill. Those working …

Health and Wellness

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Advocates for access to mental-health services are holding a Behavioral Health Summit today at the Augusta Civic Center. They are …

Experts say eye exams do more than just help patients find the right prescription for glasses. (Dario Lo Presti/Adobestock)

Health and Wellness

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Eye exams can help determine your risk of dying from COVID, according to experts, because optometrists are often the first …

Health and Wellness

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- In a few weeks, Kentucky lawmakers will convene the General Assembly, and health advocates are calling for new policies to address …

Conservationists say the Recovering America's Wildlife Act could support improvements to water quality in the Ozarks, including the Buffalo National River. (Adobe Stock)


ST. JOE, Ark. -- More than a decade of restoration efforts in a section of Northern Arkansas' Ozark National Forest have led to 40 new species of …

Social Issues

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Legislature will consider three possible redistricting maps for the House and Senate when it meets for a special …

Social Issues

HOUSTON, Texas -- Minority-owned businesses across the South are benefitting from a program designed to help them get back on their feet post-…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021