The Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market (SFAM) works to ensure that everyone in our community has access to delicious, locally produced food at the market. These efforts are a part of the Community Nutrition Program.
“Local food needs to be available to everyone in the community,” SFAM market program coordinator Elli Rose said.
“Farmers markets are not only a place for those who have a large food budget.”
Recipients of SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps — will double their SNAP electronic benefits transfer (EBT) dollars by redeeming them at the market. SNAP EBT recipients receive a $1 for $1 Market Match with no limit.
Additionally, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)/Senior recipients in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) recipients receive a one-time, $20 Market Match for every full packet of vouchers.
Market Match is issued at the market information booth. EBT, FMNP and Market Match currencies may be used at any time throughout the length of the market season.
“These programs help food assistance recipients to bring nutrient-dense food home and nourish their families,” Rose said.
These programs ensure shoppers keep their money in the local economy.
“The money is funneled directly into our local food system,” she said. “This is money that would otherwise not be spent on local products! It is the best opportunity for the community, the customer, and the farmers.”
Rose knows better than anyone of how local farmers are befitting from these programs. Alongside her husband, Baylyn, she owns and operates Joy Farm, a Sequim-based organic farm whose presence can be found weekly at the Saturday market.
“Every week I see a significant part of my sales from customers using some sort of market currency,” Rose explains. “FMNP vouchers, Market Match, Community Outreach vouchers … I see people using them consistently.”
It’s a difficult process for a farm to become eligible to accept SNAP EBT. Farmers markets and local grocery stores are often producers’ only options for getting their produce to food assistance recipients.
Markets provide a unique benefit to producers, however.
“These programs allow farmers to sell their food at the value they need to make a living while providing access to those with lower spending budgets,” Rose said.
Community Outreach Program
The market also hosts special event days. On Senior Appreciation Days*, $2 vouchers are given to seniors to purchase from any vendor at the market.
“We want seniors at the market to know they’re appreciated and welcome,” Rose said.
On Kids Days*, $2 vouchers are offered to children to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables. This program is intended to empower children to make their own healthy choices as they explore the market.
These important programs are only possible through the support of the market’s extraordinary community partners. SFAM proudly partners with Sound Community Bank, Nutritious Movement Center Northwest and the Washington State Department of Health.
The market is honored to have the support of these entities who have been so invested in benefiting their community.
“As we approach our third season, these businesses have really seen the track record of their contributions,” Rose said.
“In these first two years of the Community Nutrition Program, we have seen a 57 percent increase in EBT redeemed at the market. This demonstrates that our community needs and appreciates these programs.”
*The market is set to open with modified operations in response to the health crisis, these programs will be on hold until normal operations resume.