Food Stamp dollars worth more at Canton and Potsdam Farmers' Markets
Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 6:05 am

Participants in the SNAP/EBT food stamp program who use their benefits at the Canton and Potsdam markets will receive an additional $5 for every $10 they spend. 

"Basically every food stamp dollar is worth a dollar and a half at the Canton and Potsdam markets this season," says Aviva Gold, executive director of GardenShare, which is organizing the program. 

On top of that, EBT users who make it to the farmers' market five times this summer will get and extra $20 to spend at the market.

Shoppers can use SNAP/EBT benefits to buy fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, maple syrup and other maple products, honey, breads, baked goods, jams and jellies, processed foods, and even seeds and plants that produce food.

A study released last year by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont found that prices at farmers’ markets for organic items were lower than supermarket prices, and farmers' markets prices beat many conventionally produced supermarket prices as well.

In addition to lower prices, the produce at farmers' markets is often picked earlier that day, so it's as fresh tasting as possible. Varieties of fruits and vegetables at the market that are not sold in stores is often available, and farmers love to share information and recipes for what they've grown.

"It’s not just customers who benefit when they use their EBT cards at farmers' markets. Farmers and vendors also benefit from the increase in customers and sales, and every dollar we spend locally benefits our whole community," says Gold.

Funding for the food stamp boost is provided by local GardenShare supporters, and the New York State Fresh Connect Farmers Market program.

The Canton Market is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9-2 at the Village Park,  and the Potsdam Market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9-2 at Ives Park on Main Street.

EBT service is also available at the Ogdensburg Saturday Market.

For a complete list of farmers' markets in St. Lawrence County with contact information, visit www.GardenShare.org .