Since the pilot year in 2007, the Farmers' Market EBT Program has allowed customers to swipe their EBT (electronic benefit transfer) food stamp, credit, or debit card on a wireless transaction machine at the Missoula Farmers' Market and the Clark Fork River Market.
The program's benefits are numerous. It allows everyone who attends the markets to access locally-grown food; it benefits the vendors by increasing their sales; and it benefits the local economy by keeping federal dollars from the Food Stamp EBT program within Missoula. Before the program was initiated, people who used food stamp benefits did not have the choice of shopping at the markets (because vendors could not swipe their cards) and people who forgot cash were out of luck or had to go to an ATM off-site. Now, everyone has the option of purchasing food from the farmers' market and supporting local producers!
The Farmers' Market EBT program in Missoula was created through a combination of ingenuity, funding, and donations from CFAC, the Missoula Food Bank, Creative Catering, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Alternative Energy Resources Organization, and Big Sky Commerce.
For more information about EBT/SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, visit the Office for Public Assistance.
To learn about other Farmers' Market EBT program in Montana, visit the National Center for Appropriate Technology.