Free EBT equipment for authorized farmers, farmers markets

Farmers markets are a great place to get locally grown food.

Now the state is trying to make it easier for more people to take advantage of that while also helping farmers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made funds available that enable the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services to provide eligible farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with free electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment to process Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

The Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program expands access to fresh produce for SNAP beneficiaries and expands commerce options for farmers and farmers markets.

The program is available to only to SNAP-authorized farmers markets and direct marketing farmers that were authorized before November 18, 2011.

If the applying farmers and farmers markets receive approval, the FMC will cover the costs of purchasing or renting SNAP EBT equipment and services (set-up costs, monthly service fees, and wireless fees) for up to three years.

Though transaction fees will not be covered, the selected farmers and farmers markets can choose their own SNAP EBT service provider from a list of participating companies.

The Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program is a first-come first-serve opportunity, and the program ends when the funds have been distributed.

If a farmers market or direct marketing farmer isn’t yet SNAP-authorized, or became SNAP-authorized on or after November 18, 2011, they may be eligible for free equipment through MarketLink.

Click here for more information about the Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program, including frequently asked questions, an eligibility chart, background information and application instructions.

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