MARSHALL — Funding for a program which inspires low-income Minnesotans to purchase recent meals from farmers markets is now not in jeopardy, state Sen. Gary Dahms mentioned Friday.
Whereas funding for the Market Bucks program was reduce from the Minnesota Senate agriculture funds, Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, mentioned Friday that $325,000 was included within the state authorities funds invoice.
The Market Bucks program matches $10 in Supplemental Diet Help Program (SNAP) funding with $10 in Market bucks, permitting SNAP-eligible Minnesotans to purchase as much as $20 of recent produce from native famers markets. When funding for this system was dropped from the Senate ag funds, it touched off a wave of considerations from each farmers markets and advocacy teams preventing starvation within the state.
Dahms mentioned one of many challenges with the Market Bucks program was that it was more durable to implement in rural communities. “The bottom line is there must be an EBT reader,” on the taking part farmers market, he mentioned. “Only a few rural farmers markets have a possibility to get to an EBT reader,” and nearly all of this system funding finally ends up being spent in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Dahms mentioned.
Nonetheless, Dahms mentioned this 12 months the state agriculture funds did embrace $850,000 in funding for the Farm to Faculty program, which helps encourage Minnesota colleges to purchase meals from native farmers.
Dahms mentioned it was nonetheless a optimistic factor to have Market Bucks funding included within the state authorities funds.
“I feel it’s good to have each packages,” he mentioned. The aim of each, he mentioned, “is to offer folks entry to good, recent meals.”
Whereas not all farmers markets within the area participate within the Market Bucks program, the Marshall farmers market does, mentioned Dan Wambeke. SNAP customers can swipe their EBT card and spend $10, and rise up to $10 in Market Bucks. This system helps encourage folks to buy recent produce on the farmers market, he mentioned.
“It’s a win-win for everybody. Distributors do higher, and prospects get extra wholesome meals,” Wambeke mentioned.