HELENA — Sunday marks the start of National Farmers Market Week and to celebrate, a Butte non-profit is encouraging Montanans to shop locally, especially people who use supplemental nutrition, or SNAP benefits.
There are 22 farmers markets in Montana accept SNAP, which helps low income families buy healthy food. Several also participate in the Double SNAP Dollars program , including the Helena Farmers Market.
When a customer uses their SNAP benefits at a participating Farmers Market , they will receive a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $10 or $20, depending on location) that can be used to buy more fruits and veggies.
According to statistics recently released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products.
This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.
To find a Farmers Market near you visit AERO’s Abundant Montana Directory .
“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming a healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Program Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers."
"Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”