U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in four decades, today announced New York State is set to receive $269,446 in federal funding from the USDA to help expand the availability of wireless technology at farmers' markets that are not currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The funding provides SNAP participants greater access to fresh and healthy food, while supporting New York farmers and local economies.
"This is an important investment to increase access to healthy food grown on our own farms to families who need it," said Senator Gillibrand, who advocated for expanding wireless technology at farmers markets. "Connecting more families with farmers markets is a commonsense step for families to lead healthier lives, and open up new business for our state's farms."
Currently, the majority of SNAP participants are unable to use these benefits at farmers markets because farmers markets typically lack the wired Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) terminals that process SNAP funds. This added another barrier to fresh, nutritious produce for families in need, and farmers lose out on this business at their markets. As a result of this funding provided through the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill, states may now provide wireless equipment to currently non-participating farmers' markets, opening the door for their participation in the program.
New York State is home to roughly 520 farmers markets, second only to California. More than 3 million New Yorkers are receiving SNAP benefits as of February 2012.