Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market now accepting Bridge Cards

Farmers Market ProduceStarting Saturday, August 24, the Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market will accept Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Bridge Cards.  This initiative, through the Rochester Downtown Development Authority, gives recipients of public assistance access to fresh, locally grown foods.

“Our vendors provide fresh, local and healthy food for all of our area residents,” said Nancy Voges, DDA Marketing Coordinator.  “It makes sense that improving access to fresh, healthy food will help those most in need, while supporting the local farm economy.”

Following a successful model used by many farm markets in Michigan, recipients of SNAP benefits will be able to swipe their EBT card at the Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market Information Booth and receive wooden tokens which can be used to purchase any eligible food product at participating vendors.  Tokens do not expire, so shoppers can use them on subsequent visits to the market.

Across the country, 1 in 8 people receive SNAP benefits, totaling over 40 million people as of May 2010.  Of that 40 million, 1.9 million were Michigan residents whose benefits totaled $2.8 billion annually.  In 2010, $705,969 worth of SNAP benefits were redeemed at farmers’ markets in Michigan.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market features only Michigan-grown (or made) products including vegetables, fruit, flowers, container gardens, fresh cut flowers, herbs, spices, homemade baked goods, gnocchi & pasta, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup and various certified organic products including eggs, beef and chicken.

The market is located at the corner of E. Third and Water Street in downtown Rochester and is open every Saturday, May through October, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The market is presented by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority. For more information, please visit www.DowntownRochesterMI.com or contact the Rochester DDA office at (248) 656-0060.

About Sarah Hovis

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