Celebrating 50 Years of the Food Stamp Program
This August marked the 50th Anniversary of the Food Stamp Program, currently the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. As we look back on these 50 years, it is important to bring attention to the innovative ways in which Snap has provided nutritional assistance to millions of low-income individuals and families, as well as its efforts to bring health and economic benefits to communities.
One of the most recent ways we have seen this innovation is through the ability to use SNAP benefits at your local farmers markets. In 2013, the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) launched a program called MarketLinkTM to connect farmers, markets, and consumers through technology. This innovative solution is a win-win-win situation. MarketLinkTM helps farmers and local markets to increase their business and customer base, provides SNAP recipients access to healthy food, and encourages the consumption of locally-grown produce.
This recent push to get farmers’ markets to accept SNAP benefits has seen an enthusiastic response, with the total value of SNAP redemptions at farmers’ markets and food stands reaching $16.6 million in 2012–a 500% increase from 2008. Many of these markets even offer special discounts and benefits for those using their EBT cards. Today, with more than 3,200 farmers’ markets and stands accepting EBT cards across the country, it is easier than ever for everyone to enjoy fresh, affordable and local food.
This post was made in collaboration with the #snap4SNAP campaign celebrating 50 years of Food Stamps. To join the conversation, post, Tweet and Instagram pitures and statements on why SNAP is important, using the tag #snap4SNAP.