Farmers Market to Accept Food Stamps

I don’t typically often cover things that occur outside of the Near West End, but this could affect you or your neighbors. And, I think it’s really cool, so here goes. The South of the James Farmer’s Market, one of my favorite places in Richmond, is going to start accepting food stamps (SNAP, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) on June 18th.   Then on June 22nd, we will begin accepting SNAP. SNAP benefits are accessed via an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

SNAP at the Souther of the James Market (near Westover Hills Boulevard & Forest Hill Avenue). Other markets in the area will be starting their programs soon as well, and we’ll let you know when the St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market starts taking them. This has been a long time coming.

Here’s how it works:

Customers:  How to use your EBT card at our markets:

  • Bring your EBT/Debit card to The Market Umbrella’s booth. It’s a small pink tent at the center of the market staffed by people wearing obnoxiously bright green soccer jerseys. If you need help finding the tent, just ask a vendor to point you to it.
  • At the tent, decide how much you want to spend at the market. Swipe your card and enter your PIN. A staff member will then enter the amount of money you request.
  • Once the transaction is approved, you will be given a receipt and tokens to spend at the market. Each token represents $1.
  • Shop at the market for eligible foods using the tokens like cash.
  • Vendors will not be able to give you change for your tokens.
  • There is no expiration date on tokens and they can be kept from week to week. Or you may return any unused tokens for a refund to your EBT account.

Vendors:  How to accept and get reimbursed for SNAP tokens:

  • At the beginning of the market day, all vendors selling SNAP eligible food items will be given a SNAP envelope.
  • During the market, accept the tokens as cash for eligible food items. Each token represents $1. However, program rules prevent you from giving change for the tokens.
  • At the end of the market day, place the tokens in the envelope and return it to The Market Umbrella staff.
  • At the next market day, each vendor will receive a check for the value of the tokens they turned in the previous week. Part time vendors may have their checks mailed to them.

Kudos for South of the James Market and The Market Umbrella for making this possible.