SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is now available at a local farmers market in Frederick.
This is the first summer season the program is offered at the local market, located in front of Wolf’s Furniture at 1215 W. Patrick Street.
Every week, participants’ first $5 spent will be matched by the Maryland Farmers Market Association (MDMFA) at the market.
Danny Rohrer, a crops and livestock farmer from Boonsboro and a vendor at the market, pushed for the initiative after he saw SNAP benefits being offered at other markets around the state.
“I knew the program existed for a couple of years,” he said. “Last summer I read an article that said a larger percentage of the rural population uses SNAP benefits than the metropolitan population. I knew that 22 farmers markets participated and the one in Oakland was the only one in the rural part of the state.”
MDFMA expanded its program, Maryland Market Money, to about 35 farmers markets this year, according to its website. Maryland Market Money removes economic barriers for food-insecure shoppers using federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets, according to the MDFMA website. Its goal is to fight hunger and invests directly in farmers and strengthening the local food system.
Rohrer said the Frederick farmers market was granted $4,500 for the initiative and will be ongoing until the funds run out.
But SNAP isn’t the only program available at the market. WIC (Women, Infants & Children) participants can also take home fresh produce.
WIC matches dollar for dollar and gave out about 250 farmers market coupons Saturday to WIC participants, according to Danielle Lane, co-acting coordinator with the Frederick County WIC Program.
They also give out vouchers at the Frederick Fairgrounds farmers market.
“I think it’s a great way that we can encourage the consumption of local goods and to be able to meet the farmers face-to-face to see where their food is coming from,” she said. “It’s also great for them to be able to take home something and to see how they can prepare it using some of the recipes that we also hand out.”
The county WIC program has been available at farmers markets for years but only comes on certain days throughout the season.
For more information, visit https://marylandfma.org.