CalFresh — or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — is a successful anti-poverty program that benefits communities of color, immigrants, seniors, college students, and other food insecure Californians. CalFresh participants receive an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card to access their food benefits electronically, and recent data shows us that SNAP households are increasingly shopping at farmers’ markets. However, many farmers’ markets do not have the capacity to overcome the many hurdles it takes to successfully and efficiently provide EBT at their markets. Providing easier access for EBT not only benefits small and mid-sized farmers; it also allows more low-income households to access healthy, fresh, affordable, locally grown food in their own community.
Many farmers’ markets are unable to accept EBT because of the associated costs — they need to have the financial and administrative means to become a certified SNAP retailer, develop and manage an on-site system, and implement all the back-end reporting requirements. SB 907 would establish a grant program to support EBT staffing and technical assistance at certified farmers’ markets in California, as well as establish new, certified markets in under-served, low-income communities. Finally, this grant program will develop nutrition education programs and outreach efforts to local communities to help ensure those in need of food assistance are aware of these benefits.
“As impacts of the pandemic continue, food insecurity remains incredibly high across our state, with Black and Latino families disproprotionately suffering from higher levels of hunger than white families. Local farmers’ markets are an important source of low-cost, fresh fruits and vegetables for Californians in need of food assistance and those communities living in food deserts. California has an opportunity with SB 907 to not only ensure equal access to CalFresh at certified farmers markets but to reach our most underserved communities.”
Stay up-to-date on SB 907.