Finding Food Assistance at Farmers’ Markets

  In the spring, farmers markets will reopen across the state, boasting an array of fresh, healthy, sustainably grown products. New Mexicans who attend these markets can purchase nourishing food for themselves and their families, while also supporting local growers and producers.

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, offers monthly benefits to low income individuals who are struggling to put food on the table. These benefits are allotted onto an EBT, or Electronic Benefit Transfer, card. SNAP participants can use their benefits to purchase food at supermarkets and grocery stores, but did you know that they can also use them at farmers markets? SNAP is increasingly accepted at farmers markets across New Mexico, where participants can buy produce and other foods from the various vendors.

Megan Garcia works the EBT booth at the Farmers and Crafts Market in Las Cruces. In addition to assisting clients with their EBT transactions, she has been trained by Paige Sharp from Roadrunner’s Las Cruces office to conduct SNAP Outreach. SNAP Outreach works to decrease barriers that prohibit successful participation in SNAP by offering application assistance and education to those who need it. Megan recently shared this story with us.

A young man came by my booth at the Farmers and Crafts Market of Las Cruces. He stopped when he saw my sign letting people know that I am trained to answer questions about SNAP. After I explained to him the process, he said he really needed help with food. We completed the application on a Saturday and I turned in the application to the Human Services Department drop box. The next Saturday the young man returned with his EBT card. He was so excited to use it at the market. He told me he wanted to use it at the farmers market to purchase produce and local goods from local vendors.  He told me, “I think it is important to stay local whenever possible.”  I am amazed just how quick he was able to get the services he needed! 

March is National Nutrition Month (#NNM) and it is an important time to consider ways in which low-income families can stretch their food budgets, while also making healthy choices. Often families on tight limited budgets cannot risk wasting a single dollar and must choose to purchase foods that they know will keep for a long time. Also, many New Mexicans live in an area of the state that do not have access to a grocery store. It situations like this, hungry families often don’t have all the resources or funds they need to afford both fuel and then groceries they need for their families.  Families that qualify for SNAP benefits are able to provide participants with a little extra room in their budgets by helping families put a wider variety of food on their tables and making the opportunity to eat healthy a little bit easier. By accepting SNAP and other public benefits, the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are sold at farmers markets are a healthy food options for all New Mexicans, regardless of income level. Using SNAP benefits at farmers markets also presents a way through which a larger number of consumers can support local growers and enjoy an undeniable sense of community. Everyone has the right to eat fresh, healthy food, and thanks to markets across the state, the opportunity to choose healthy food is now more accessible.

If you need help with food, or are interested in learning more about volunteering with the Food Bank’s SNAP Outreach Program, contact Liz Curry at 505.349.5328 or in Albuquerque. In Las Cruces, please contact Paige Sharp at 575.323.5149 or

Liz Curry is an AmeriCorps VISTA member helping at Roadrunner Food Bank through the summer of 2015.

Photo Courtesy of Feeding America


One Response to Finding Food Assistance at Farmers’ Markets

  1. Mark Ryerson says:

    Thanks for the great article

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