Pictured are Diane Eggert, Farmers Market Federation of NY and Laura McManus, Head Start, Health and Nutrition Coordinator at the food stamp booth at the Hamilton Farmers Market on Saturday, June 2. (Photo by Mary Bartlett)
Your Farms: Field to Table
(Hamilton, NY – June 2012) The Hamilton Farmers Market is pleased to once again host a POS terminal that allows food stamp recipients to purchase fresh, locally grown foods from area farmers. The POS terminal allows food stamp benefits to be used to “purchase” EBT (or food stamp) tokens that are then spent with the participating farmers and vendors throughout the market. Most vendors selling food stamp eligible foods will accept the tokens as payment for their products, giving food stamp consumers a wide variety of food and producer options at the market.
The Village of Hamilton, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County and the Farmers Market Federation of NY have worked together over the past few months to bring this program back to the market after a brief hiatus. The terminal will be operated by a series of volunteers over the course of the season that will be there to allow food stamp customers to purchase their tokens and help guide them to the foods and vendors they are searching. Mary Bartlett, Director of the RSVP Volunteers of Madison County has taken a leading role in sourcing volunteers for the program.
Debbie Kliman, Village Trustee and market liaison to the Board of Trustees, says that “it is important to the village that the farmers market be available to all members of the community. It’s an opportunity for purchasing fresh, healthy and locally grown foods, but it is also a community event. We want to know that every member of our community has the opportunity to experience the farmers market – the food, the fun and the friendship.”
Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Federation of NY said, “When it comes to food stamp customers, we’re trying to emphasize that their benefits can go farther than they may have thought at the farmers market. Not only are they able to obtain farm-fresh food, they have access to vendors and farmers who are ready and willing to share advice, tips and recipes.”
Now food stamp customers have access to the freshest, healthiest produce and products that Central New York has to offer and farmers have a whole new customer base in the market.
The Hamilton Farmers Market is open every Saturday, May through Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Village Green along Broad Street. Farmers from Madison County and surrounding counties, along with bakers and crafters fill the green each Saturday morning with colorful, flavorful and heavenly scented fruits and vegetables, local meats, cheeses, mushrooms, eggs, baked goods and much, much more.