SNAP & Save Launches in Amherst and Northampton Farmers’ Markets
This week, a new program called SNAP & Save launches at all four farmers’ markets in Northampton and Amherst, giving anyone with SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps) up to a $5 match per customer per week for the rest of the market season. So if a SNAP recipient swipes their EBT card for $5 at a local farmers’ market, they will receive $10 worth of tokens to spend on fresh, local fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and other products. If they spend $1, they’ll get $2. The program is a collaboration between CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), Healthy Hampshire, and the Amherst Farmers’ Market, the Florence Farmers’ Market, the Northampton Farmers’ Market, and Northampton’s Tuesday Market.
Kelly Coleman, CISA’s Program Director, says, “We believe that everyone in the community should have access to locally grown food. The SNAP & Save program is an incredible win-win for farmers and SNAP clients.”
Farmers’ markets are public spaces where community members can gather regularly to purchase the freshest produce and other local foods, support local farmers and producers and connect with each other. This program helps all farmers’ markets in the region become more culturally and financially accessible to everyone in the community, and to make locally grown food available to all.
This new program replaces the FoodStampsX2 program run by Tuesday Market in Northampton for the past six years. After fundraising independently for that program and seeing no break in demand for it, the Tuesday Market managers began seeking a regional collaboration that would result in a stronger, more sustainable program. Oona Coy from Tuesday Market and Sarah Bankert from Healthy Hampshire convened a task force, including Kelly Coleman from CISA and market managers from the four participating markets. Thanks to funding from the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation and an anonymous donor to CISA, the program is funded to run throughout the rest of the market season.
“I’m thrilled this program is continuing, and I hope it expands for those individuals and families who need it. A lot of us really benefit from this program — it enables us to eat more healthy, local produce and at the same time support the wonderful farmers in the area,” says A.E., a regular SNAP customer at Tuesday Market.
“This new SNAP & Save program has really brought the market managers in the region together to help make all of our markets more accessible and community oriented. I’m really excited to spread the word in Amherst and let the wide range of SNAP recipients in town know about this program,” says Tammy Ryan, the new manager at the Amherst Farmers’ Market.
How does SNAP & Save work?
- Visit any of the four farmers’ market in Amherst or Northampton
- Shop around and decide how much you want to spend from your SNAP benefits
- Swipe your EBT card at the market manager’s booth (just like at a supermarket)
- Get tokens instead of cash for the amount you chose – plus up to $5 in additional tokens
- Use your tokens that same day to buy fruits, vegetables, and more at the market
Amherst Farmers’ Market
Amherst Common in Downtown Amherst
Saturdays, 8am – 1:30pm
Florence Farmers’ Market
Florence Civic Center at the corner of Main Street and Park Street
Wednesdays, 2pm – 6pm
Northampton Tuesday Market
Next to the Parking Garage in Downtown Northampton
Tuesdays, 1:30pm – 6:30pm
Northampton Farmers’ Market
Gothic Street, Downtown Northampton
Saturdays, 7am – 1pm
For full details or to make a tax-deductible donation to support SNAP & Save, visit buylocalfood.org/SnapAndSave.