Rebecca and Abel, Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market’s SNAP ambassadors, redeem SNAP currency at the market. Photo by Emma Jane “EJ” Garcia

Rebecca and Abel, Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market’s SNAP ambassadors, redeem SNAP currency at the market. Photo by Emma Jane “EJ” Garcia

Whats Happening at the Market: Maximize your food assistance dollars

The Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market makes it a top priority to ensure that everyone in the community has access to beautiful, delicious food grown here in Clallam County.

Offerings at the market are a celebration of the abundant soils that form the foundation of Sequim. As such, there is simply no better place to stock up on local vegetables, fruits, eggs, honey, fresh-cut flowers, baked goods, tea … and even edible plant starts!

To ensure that the market is a one-stop-shop for grocery shoppers from every walk of life, SFAM is proud to maintain a robust set of Community Nutrition and Outreach Programs.

So what do Community Nutrition Programs look like at the market? Recipients of SNAP — or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps — are able to double their SNAP electronic benefit transfer (EBT) dollars by redeeming them right at the market information booth. SNAP EBT and P-EBT (pandemic electronic benefit transfer) recipients receive a $1-for-$1 Market Match (up to $40) when they swipe their EBT card at the market.

This means that a $20 withdrawal with one’s EBT card will result in $40 total to spend on fresh foods at the market. This option is available every Saturday during the market’s operating season.

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is designed to provide low-income seniors and women, infants and children (WIC) with access to locally-grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs. Participants of the Senior and WIC FMNP program receive a one-time $20 Market Match for every full packet of checks presented to the market information booth, this match is made possible through the support of program sponsor, Sound Community Bank.

SNAP 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 bring nutrient-dense food home and nourish their families,” said Elli Rose, a local farmer and owner of Joy Farm.

“These programs ensure shoppers keep their money in the local economy,” she said. “The money is funneled directly into our local food system. 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.”

With a record-breaking amount of farmers and food producers on the market vendor roster in 2021, food assistance recipients have the opportunity to support their neighbors and community members in the cultivation of viable farm businesses.

It is a challenging process for farms to become eligible to accept SNAP EBT or FMNP. Farmers markets are often small producers’ only options for ensuring their produce reaches food assistance recipients. In this way, markets provide a unique benefit to producers looking to increase the reach of their produce.

The market’s community nutrition programs allow farmers to sell their food at the value they need to make a living while providing access to those with more conservative spending budgets.

In these first three years of the Community Nutrition Program, the market has witnessed an extraordinary increase of SNAP EBT cards swiped at the market.

Community Outreach Programs

SFAM also hosts special event days. On Senior Appreciation Days that fall on the last Saturday of each month, $2 vouchers are given to the first 50 seniors through the information booth. These vouchers can be used with any vendor at the market.

On Kids Days, held the first Saturday of each month, $2 vouchers are offered to the first 50 children through the information booth for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. This program is intended to empower children to make their own healthy choices as they explore the market. SFAM thanks Nutritious Movement for making these programs possible.

Additionally, on every Saturday at the market, the first 25 guests who show their reusable shopping bags to the information booth receive a $2 voucher to be used with any vendor at the market. This is brought to the community by BrokersGroup as a thank you for reducing waste.

The market is honored to have the support of its Community Nutrition and Outreach program sponsors. SFAM’s sponsors and partners are invested in strengthening and supporting their community. As the market approaches the fourth season with the inclusion of programs, market vendor businesses have been able to see firsthand the impact of their contributions.

This validates market guests’ need and appreciation for these programs. SFAM is enthusiastic to continue growing and strengthening in response to the needs of its community.

Guests can take advantage of these fantastic programs on Saturdays at the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each Saturday through October.

Visit your community market at Sequim City Hall Plaza at North Sequim Avenue and West Cedar Street, and at Centennial Place at the Sequim Avenue and Washington Street intersection.

Want more market updates? Be sure to tune in every Friday at 4 p.m. to KSQM 91.5 FM for the live radio Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market Hour.

Emma Jane “EJ” Garcia is the Market Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.

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