An important first step in starting a farmers’ market SNAP program is to choose a merchant service provider and device to process EBT payments (and credit/debit payments, if desired). There are many merchant service providers available.
Currently for distinct merchant service providers and associated equipment are available with grant subsidy to cover some of the costs. Here is a chart comparing those options currently available.
NOTE- The Farmers’ Market Coalition is NOT currently accepting any further applications in their EBT Equipment Program. They expect to have the program up and running once again in early 2018, and FMC encourages any markets or farmers interested in applying for equipment to email email@example.com to be placed onto a wait list.
*Reduced-Cost EBT Equipment Grant Program: Through an agreement with MFFM, Dharma Merchant Services is offering discounted equipment and rates to Maine markets. Additionally, there are some remaining funds available to assist with the purchase of a Dharma EBT device. Applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis, while funding is available. Click here to learn more.
Plan & Strategize: Discuss among market staff / vendors / volunteers how to best structure and promote your EBT/SNAP program. Decide who will be the point person for the market’s EBT/SNAP program and who will take on the various tasks involved in operating a successful program (central transaction booth, record-keeping, promotion, etc.). There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Get in touch with us at MFFM (SNAP@mffm.org); check out our annual workshops, and learn from these resources:
- USDA FNS SNAP at Farmers’ Markets FAQ
- FMC’s SNAP Guide for Farmers’ Markets online resources
- SNAP/EBT at your farmers’ market: 7 Steps to Success (Project for Public Spaces & Wholesome Wave)
- Report on Farmers’ Markets & Low-income Communities
- Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets SNAP & Maine Harvest Bucks presentation
- “Market Quest Toolkit – A Marketing Guide and Toolkit for Maine Farmers’ Markets Accepting Electronic Benefits Transfer” (This resource was created by the Downeast Business Alliance in 2010 and is now a bit out of date. However, it still contains much useful information.)