Currently there are 29 Maine farmers’ markets accepting EBT. At our recent workshops “Making Your Market More Low-Income Friendly” we learned some useful information about changes in the process for farmers’ markets.
- The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has a team dedicated exclusively to working with farmers and farmers’ markets to resolve their EBT challenges and questions. Debby Crosby (based in Maine) and Maria Schamberger (based in Albany) spoke at our workshops, and made it clear that their goal is to support and accommodate farmers to ensure the EBT process is as seamless as possible. Call their farmer support team at (312) 353-6609 (leave a message and someone will get back to you within 2 days).
- The USDA-subsidized Market Link program now allows farmers and farmers’ markets to use their own iOS devices to process EBT payments (which was previously possible for credit/debit payments, but not EBT). For those who have their own devices, it is possible to sign up for 3 years with no fixed costs (only costs per-transaction). This sounds like a very encouraging development, and we’re looking forward to hearing more.
- The Farmers Market Coalition is offering free equipment to markets that have had an FNS number for several years, but have old or defunct equipment. There are quite a few restrictions and a potential 60 day waiting list. but this could be an option for some markets.