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Bounty at the Canton Farmers' Market, summer 2010. Photo by David Sommerstein
Bounty at the Canton Farmers' Market, summer 2010. Photo by David Sommerstein

Two ways SNAP recipients can save at farmers' markets

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There's more and more to buy at farmers' markets this time of year. For many shoppers, it's exciting to watch the growers' stands fill up with new fruits and vegetables. But many others feel priced out of the market.

This week, GardenShare, an anti-hunger group in Canton is reminding people in need about ways they can stretch their dollar at farmers' markets in St. Lawrence County.

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Reported by

Zach Hirsch
Reporter and Producer

People who receive SNAP benefits (often known as food stamps) get a pretty good deal in St. Lawrence County: "When they swipe $5 off their EBT card, they get $7 worth of purchasing power," says Aviva Gold, executive director of GardenShare.

Shoppers get those extra $2 in coupons called Health Bucks, which come from the Food Bank of Central New York. Gold says SNAP recipients can get the Health Bucks at the Canton and Potsdam farmer’s markets, and when it opens, at the Massena market.

"Various food assistance programs do want more fresh foods, and less processed foods. And so this is one way to give the customers what they’re looking for."

Gold says $2 extra for every $5 people spend is a bargain, but in July, it gets even sweeter.  That’s because of another incentive program that’s coming to St. Lawrence County, called FreshConnect.

"When that incentive comes, that’s in addition to the CNY Health Bucks. So then, in July, you’ll get $4 for every $5 dollars in SNAP benefits that you use," Gold says.

St. Lawrence County isn’t unique. Lots of North Country farmers’ markets have dollar-stretching programs. Gold encourages people to visit her organization’s website, GardenShare.org, where there’s a list of all the farmers’ markets that accept SNAP benefits in the region.

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