Farmers markets strengthen local economy, sense of community; Double Up program helps SNAP recipients

A Farmers Market in St George, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Kat Puzey, St George News / Cedar City News

FEATURE — Have you shopped at your local farmers market? If not, you’re missing out! There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh, locally grown produce.

Juicy tomatoes, perfectly ripened peaches and fragrant fresh herbs aren’t the only perk of farmers market shopping. Your family and community reap even more benefits, including the following:

  • Supporting local producers helps strengthen the local economy by preserving farms and small ranches and creating jobs.
  • Locally produced food is often higher in quality and freshness because it doesn’t travel long distances before reaching your table.
  • There is a sense of community at your farmers market! Get to know your local growers and their business. Learn about the products they offer and what makes them tick.
  • Farmers markets are just plain fun! Many offer a variety of local products beyond produce, such as flowers, hand-made crafts, herbs, and body care products.

In addition to the benefits listed above, many farmers markets also accept SNAP EBT benefits. Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Bring your SNAP EBT Horizon card to a participating farmers market info booth or farm stand before you shop.

Step 2 – Decide how much money you would like to spend. The attendant at the booth will swipe your card for the requested amount and give you wooden tokens worth $1 each that you can use to purchase food from vendors at the market. You can use the tokens right away or save them for another day.

Not all markets accept SNAP EBT benefits, so it is important to check with the market before you go. You can find more information and a list of participating markets by clicking here.

Another great benefit from shopping at farmers markets is the Double Up Food Bucks Program. Check out the flyers below for more info.

Flyer courtesy of USU Extension Create Better Health blog, St. George News | Click to enlarge
Flyer courtesy of USU Extension Create Better Health blog, St. George News | Click to enlarge

With all that fresh produce in your hands, you’re going to need some yummy recipes. Click here to download our free Farmers Market Cookbook.

One of my favorite recipes from the book is Roasted Asparagus with Lemon. The complete recipe can be found on this USU Extension Create Better Health blog post.

Written by CANDI MERRITT, Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador.

This article originally appeared April 28, 2021, on the USU Extension Create Better Health blog.

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