Promoting healthy eating
BY ALYSSA MEIER
A local farmers market is opening up its produce to those under assistance programs by accepting SNAP for fresh fruit and veggies.
Skyline Ranch Produce of Hensler is at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center parking lot each Friday, selling produce during the weekly farmers market. But Skyline Ranch is unique in that is it one of only seven producers in the state that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic benefits transfer (EBT) and at the register.
According to a press release from the N.D. Department of Human Services, there are nine farmers markets in 10 cities within the state that accept SNAP EBT.
“Fresh produce from local farmers markets is the cornerstone of healthy family meals during the peak growing season,” said Arlene Dura, assistant director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Economic Assistance Division. “We are so grateful for all of the participating farmers markets who are encouraging healthy eating and finding creative ways to make locally-grown produce more accessible to SNAP households.”
The SNAP EBT program typically serves seniors, those with disabilities or individuals with fixed or incomes. The funds can only be used for food or for seeds and plants that will produce food.
Dura said the SNAP EBT Farmers Market program is open to any food producer in North Dakota. Interested farmers markets need to apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and follow federal SNAP rules and policies. Funds are available to reimburse markets for up to $1,200 of the cost of purchasing equipment necessary to scanning EBT cards.
Skyline Ranch Produce serves farmers markets in Beulah, Bismarck, Hazen and Washburn.