Buying Food

National Farmers Market Week is an occasion to highlight how farmers markets are changing the way we connect, eat, shop, and more! Always the first full week of August, this year’s National Farmers Market Week is August 6-12.

Farmers markets are changing the way we connect to foodways that sustain our communities. No two farmers markets are alike – they develop in the hands of local growers and in the hearts of community members who crave nutritious food and desire a connection with where their food comes from and how it is grown. Having witnessed the fragility of our food industry nationally during the pandemic, it has become even more evident that having a source of food grown close to home empowers communities.

Farmers markets are changing the way we connect around food. Farmers markets are a place where shoppers learn the cycles and flavors of the seasons and how to prepare the food we buy directly from the people who grow and raise it. Many farmers markets offer seasonal recipes and cooking demonstrations which excite and inspire us to make delicious meals ourselves, and many offer kid-friendly activities, such as farmers market scavenger hunts and food bucks for kids to do their own shopping so they, too, can engage with their local foodways.

Farmers Markets are changing the way we shop. Because farmers markets are so connected to place, each farmers market has its own culture of food, music, vendors, and set up. Different farmers markets accept different types of currency, trending towards the more, the merrier!

Just like adding credit and debit card processing at a farmers market opens doors to additional sales, so too adding additional forms of payment, such as SNAP EBT and WIC vouchers increases the customer base and sales at a farmer market. 

More than ever, we need places where people can come together. Farmers markets are designed in partnership with the people they serve, creating a space where market operators, farmers, shoppers, and neighbors can collaborate to meet the evolving needs of our communities.

Many of us shop at farmers markets to support local farmers and growers so that they earn a living growing the food we need and enjoy.

If you’ve wondered why the Texas Center for Local Food is in the business of increasing sales at farmers markets with our “Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” project, that’s a big reason why: sales at farmers markets go directly into the pockets of the people producing our food. If we want farmers to be able to keep up their good work growing food, we need to build systems that make farming economically viable, such as increasing the customer base for farmers markets.

Want to sell at a farmers market?

Check out these free TXFED.org courses: 

  1. Is Selling at Any Farmers Market Right for You?
  2. Making Money at the Farmers Market (101)
  3. Optimizing Your Impact at the Farmers Market (101)

Want to support your local farmers market?

  1. Shop regularly at your farmers market – and tell you friends to do the same! 
  2. Local food fans are encouraged to share National Farmers Market Week on social media! Use the #LoveMyMarket and #FarmersMarketWeek to share the bounty of the season on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And tag us! @texaslocalfood
  3. Sponsor or directly fund initiatives at farmers markets that your business supports, such as staff to operate food access programs or next year’s National Farmers Market Week celebration.

See you at the market!

These ‘Fresh Look’ partner farmers markets currently accept SNAP EBT, also known as Lone Star Cards. Farmers market schedules and hours are subject to change.

Central Texas

East Texas

North Texas

South Texas

West Texas

  • Bodega Loya (El Paso) Friday and Sunday 12-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm

April 10, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Sue Beckwith
SueB (at) TexasLocalFood.org

ELGIN, TEXAS – The Texas Center for Local Food today announced this year’s “Fresh Look” partners – farmers markets in Texas that accept SNAP EBT, formerly known as “food stamps.” SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food assistance to lower income households. The Texas Center for Local Food launched “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” in 2021 to promote farmers markets that accept SNAP EBT. 

“Farmers markets are a critical link in our Texas food system, and lower income families have access to fresh, local food — but too many don’t know it — yet!” says Sue Beckwith, Texas Center for Local Food Executive Director. According to 2020 statistics from the USDA, Texas was second in the nation for SNAP benefits issued, but ranked nearly last in the percentage of SNAP funds used at farms and farmers markets. “Our ‘Fresh Look’ project makes Texas-grown, farm fresh produce more accessible to families shopping with SNAP benefits and helps small Texas farmers and ranchers too,” Beckwith said.

The spring growing season offers a great opportunity for families to purchase locally-grown produce at their local farmers markets, like carrots and leafy greens. Families can use their Lone Star Card to buy any SNAP eligible foods including produce, eggs, meat, bread, and more!  

These ‘Fresh Look’ partner farmers markets currently accept SNAP EBT, also known as Lone Star Cards. Farmers market hours are subject to change.

Central Texas

East Texas

North Texas

South Texas

West Texas

  • Bodega Loya (El Paso) Friday and Sunday 12-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm

The Texas Center for Local Food was created by small farmers and ranchers in 2016 to strengthen the economic viability of Texas communities and family farms through local food economic development.  For more information, visit TexasLocalFood.org or contact Sue Beckwith at SueB@TexasLocalFood.org or 512-496-1244.

Data Points & Sources

  • In FY 2020, Texas ranked second in the nation in total SNAP benefits issued at $6.3 billion, second only to California.
    • SNAP $5 billion + Emergency Allotment $1.3 billion 
    • The $6.3 billion total includes regular SNAP issuance and additional emergency allotment COVID relief funds. Emergency allotments ended in March 2023 for all SNAP recipients in Texas.
  • In FY 2020, Texas ranked 47th in SNAP redemption at farms and farmers markets as a percentage of total SNAP redemption for the state (.0030%).
  1. https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/resource-files/FY20-state-activity-report.pdf
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
  3. https://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
  4. https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/records-statistics/data-statistics/supplemental-nutritional-assistance-program-snap-statistics
  5. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/redemptions-report-fy-2013-2020

10 de abril de 2023
PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA 

Contacto con los medios: Jesús Reyes
Texas Mexico/Border Coalition, CBO
info (at) TM-BC.org

ELGIN, TEXAS – El Texas Center for Local Food anunció hoy a los socios del programa “Fresh Look” de este año: mercados de agricultores en Texas que aceptan SNAP EBT, anteriormente conocidos como “estampillas de alimentos”. SNAP es el Programa de asistencia nutricional suplementario, que brinda asistencia alimentaria a los hogares de bajos ingresos. El Texas Center for Local Food lanzó “Una nueva mirada a su mercado de agricultores” o “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” en 2021 para promover los mercados de agricultores que aceptan SNAP EBT.

“Los mercados de agricultores son un vínculo fundamental en nuestro sistema alimentario de Texas, y las familias de bajos ingresos tienen acceso a alimentos locales frescos, ¡pero muchos aún no lo saben!” dice Sue Beckwith, Directora Ejecutiva del Texas Center for Local Food. Según las estadísticas de 2020 del USDA, Texas ocupó el segundo lugar en la nación por los beneficios de SNAP emitidos, pero ocupó el último lugar en el porcentaje de fondos de SNAP utilizados en granjas y mercados de agricultores. “Nuestro proyecto ‘Fresh Look’ hace que los productos agrícolas frescos cultivados en Texas sean más accesibles para las familias que compran con los beneficios de SNAP y también ayuda a los pequeños agricultores y ganaderos de Texas”, dijo Beckwith.

La temporada de cultivo de primavera ofrece una gran oportunidad para que las familias compren productos cultivados localmente en los mercados de agricultores locales, como zanahorias y otras verduras. ¡Las familias pueden usar su tarjeta Lone Star para comprar alimentos elegibles para SNAP como verduras, huevos, carne, pan y más!

Estos mercados de agricultores asociados a ‘Fresh Look’ actualmente aceptan SNAP EBT igual conocido como su tarjeta Lone Star. Los horarios del mercado de agricultores están sujetos a cambios.

Centro de Texas

Este de Texas

Norte de Texas

Sur de Texas

Oeste de Texas

  • Bodega Loya (El Paso) viernes y domingo 12-5pm, sábado 10am-5pm 

El Centro de Alimentos Locales de Texas fue creado por pequeños agricultores y ganaderos en 2016 para fortalecer la viabilidad económica de las comunidades y granjas familiares de Texas a través del desarrollo económico de alimentos locales. Para obtener más información, visite TexasLocalFood.org o comuníquese con Jesus Reyes a Info@TM-BC.org o 956-298-0708.

Puntos de datos y fuentes

  • En el año fiscal 2020, Texas ocupó el segundo lugar en la nación en el total de beneficios SNAP emitidos con $6.3 mil millones, solo superado por el estado de California.
    • SNAP $5 mil millones + Asignación de emergencia $1.3 mil millones
    • El total de $6.3 mil millones incluye la emisión regular de SNAP y fondos adicionales de ayuda de asignación de emergencia por COVID. Las asignaciones de emergencia terminaron en marzo de 2023 para todos los beneficiarios de SNAP en Texas.
  • En el año fiscal 2020, Texas ocupó el puesto 47 en el canje de SNAP en granjas y mercados de agricultores como porcentaje del canje total de SNAP para el estado (.0030 %).
  1. https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/resource-files/FY20-state-activity-report.pdf
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
  3. https://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
  4. https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/records-statistics/data-statistics/supplemental-nutritional-assistance-program-snap-statistics
  5. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/redemptions-report-fy-2013-2020

ELGIN, TEXAS – The Texas Center for Local Food today announced a new project to promote the use of SNAP benefits at farmers markets in Texas.  

SNAP benefit recipients can use their SNAP cards to buy fresh, local food at farmers markets. But many recipients don’t know that – and farmers markets face multiple hurdles to accepting SNAP. 

In FY2020, Texas ranked 47th out of the 50 US states in SNAP sales at farmers markets. “Farmers markets are a critical link in the local food system, and lower-income families have access to fresh, local food — but too many don’t know it — yet!” said Sue Beckwith, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Local Food. Our new project will get more Texas-grown, farm fresh produce onto SNAP recipients’ tables.”

Promotion alone won’t increase sales to SNAP recipients. Farmers markets also need help setting up and using the equipment for SNAP processing. “The equipment required to process SNAP is different from normal card processing equipment. It requires its own setup and specialized training,” said Susie Marshall, Executive Director of Grow North Texas, a SNAP-ED project partner. “We provide technical assistance to help farmers markets adopt and use the equipment.”

family shopping at farmers market

Digital images are free for non-commercial, non-profit use. They are provided by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The 1-year grant of $439,951 is awarded and administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission using funds allocated to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service as part of the Farm Bill.

Another hurdle for farmers markets accepting SNAP are the costs of the equipment and processing. The Texas Center for Local Food also works to help farmers markets offset farmers markets costs not paid for by this grant costs using funds contributed by TCLF members. To become a member, or find out how to participate, please visit TexasLocalFood.org/Join-Us

The Texas Center for Local Food, based in Elgin, Texas, was created in 2016 by small farmers and ranchers to strengthen the economic viability of Texas communities and family farms through making the local food system economically stronger. For more information, visit TexasLocalFood.org or contact Sue Beckwith at sueb@TexasLocalFood.org.

Data Points & Sources

Based on FY 2020 & FY 2019:

  • On average 12.4% of Texans receive SNAP every month (1.6 million families).
  • Each month over $400 million dollars in SNAP payments are made in Texas.
  • The precentage of SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets is almost 0 (0.003%), ranking Texas 47th in the country.
  1. https://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
  3. https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/records-statistics/data-statistics/supplemental-nutritional-assistance-program-snap-statistics

 Sources

  • Family purchases food at a local farmers market. Credit (not required): Photo courtesy USDA SNAP-ED.  Digital images are free for non-commercial, non-profit use. They are provided by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

From our friends at The Counter, this excellent overview of the history of Black farmers and current actions to dismantle racism in our food system.

Farmers market managers take note and count on us at the Texas Center for Local Food to support your shift to a more diverse customer base. “… the recent movement in the U.S. to promote healthier and more sustainable eating by supporting local farmers’ markets among other things was overwhelmingly white. So though there has been a boom in farmers’ markets in recent years — they grew by 76% from 2008 to 2014, and another 6% since then, according to the USDA — they typically serve affluent white populations and too often have erected barriers that discourage farmers and other vendors of color.

Black farmers’ markets work to “redesign the food system”

Farmer Market Managers Highlights (full report is here)

In 2019, Farmers Market Managers operated 8,140 farmers markets.

The largest number of markets operated during June through September. The month of July was the highest month of operation, followed closely by August, with 71.9 percent and 71.8 percent, respectively. Twenty-one percent of the markets operated year round.

At 52.4 percent, Saturday was the most common day of operation.

Fruits and vegetables composed the most common food category sold at 99.6 percent of markets, followed by Condiments and sauce at 94.1 percent.

The percent of markets that had locally grown labeling totaled nearly 84.7 percent. Gluten free and Grass-fed had 46.1 percent and 46.0 percent, respectively.

Of the 4,076 markets that accepted Federal Nutrition Programs, 78.7 percent accepted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Of the 4,352 vendors/producers who accepted Federal Nutrition Programs, 66.7 percent accepted Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), followed closely by Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) at 66.3 percent.

On an average market day, 916 households shopped across markets in the U.S. and spent $14,547 per farmers market.

Farmers Market Managers served as paid employees in 4,321 markets, while in 3,162 they served as volunteers. On average, the paid Farmers Market Mangers earned $18.40 per hour. Managers worked an average of 19.4 hours per week.

There were 31,609 volunteers contributing their time across 5,078 markets.

This article in the Austin Chronicle (March 8, 2019) highlights the latest players in the burgeoning Austin consumer packaged goods (CPG) world. We want the best of these companies to locate in Elgin where we have land, farms and a strong labor force. At the Texas Center for Local Food, we’re raising funds now to build the Elgin Local Food Center to provide jobs and opportunities for our region’s talented food entrepreneurs.

And yea, we want to help them buy from our Texas family farms! So hey you up and coming CPG companies, drop us a line.

Farm to Institution New England (FINE) has released the new report Campus Dining 201: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Farm to College in New England. The report summarizes the results of FINE’s 2018 survey of New England colleges and universities with dining services.

Results show that 93 percent of responding colleges reported purchasing local food for their dining services. On average, responding colleges spent more than a fifth (21.5 percent) of their annual food budget on local food (spending $67.7 million on local food). Read the full report for more information on specific food items that colleges are sourcing locally and those they report are difficult to source locally; procurement goals; distributors used; self-operated colleges and food service management companies; and much more. 
Download their new research report to learn more!

This article from Urban Food Futures gives a brief overview of the changes happening in our food system. Spoiler alert: high volume buyers make big differences in our food sourcing and eating. We would add the fabulous Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP)! We’re a proud member of the Austin area GFPP team with the City of Austin Office of Sustainability, UT Austin, Austin ISD, Huston-Tillotson University and the Austin Convention Center.

The American Medical Association released a study in 2018 showing a 25% drop in cancer diagnoses for people who eat organic. This could be a big win for Texas organic farmers. How will we get this information to consumers? In Texas we rely mostly on private companies and the Texas Department of Agriculture to market Texas-grown organic foods. Is this enough? Leave comments to share your thoughts on how we could market Texas organics!

Here is a good summary article from New Hope Network on the impact of this research.

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