Evaluation of SNAP benefits utilization at Baltimore Farmers Markets
The Center for a Livable Future is working with Maryland Hunger Solutions (MDHS) to evaluate the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in four farmers markets in the Baltimore area. MDHS has received funding to introduce food stamp benefits (electronic independence cards) to several Baltimore City farmers’ markets, including the Highlandtown Farmers Market, Park Heights Community Farmers Market at Pimlico and Waverly/32nd Street Farmers Market. Participating markets will allow Food Supplement Program (FSP; formerly called the food stamp program) recipients to use their electronic benefits transfer cards (EBT, also known as Independence Cards) to purchase approved food. In the 2011 growing season, the West Baltimore market also added an EBT machine. With funding from the Wholesome Wave Foundation, customers receive up to $5 incentive with Baltimore Bucks vouchers, which can be used on any food item that the recipients could purchase with their Independence Cards. Beginning in 2010, the Center will collect data for three years in order to capture the changes in use over time.