farmers market

At the Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF), we’re dedicated to fostering equitable local food systems while ensuring farmers can earn a decent living from farming year after year. Our initiative, “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” SNAP-Ed Program, seeks proposals from qualified organizations to increase access to locally-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets among SNAP shoppers in Brownsville and Harlingen, Texas. SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the largest and most successful anti-hunger program in the U.S. and helps boost local economies when shoppers use their benefits with local food producers. 

Project Overview

The chosen contractor will collaborate closely with TCLF Farmers Market Specialists to engage SNAP recipients within a 30-minute radius of Brownsville and Harlingen. With a $10,000 budget, we aim to reach 5,000 unique SNAP recipients, distributing educational materials, participating in monthly outreach events, fostering community partnerships, and providing feedback to TCLF staff.

Desired Qualifications

We seek bilingual (English and Spanish) contractors with experience in serving SNAP beneficiaries and conducting outreach in the targeted regions. Alignment with TCLF’s mission and goals as well as collaborative communication are essential. Our ideal candidate shares our vision of equitable food systems and is committed to empowering communities through access to nutritious, locally sourced produce. Successful candidates will demonstrate initiative, a spirit for innovation, and high levels of reporting and evaluation transparency. 

Submission Details

Please review the Request for Proposals document. Interested parties are invited to submit proposals to Yelitza Garcia (Yelitza@TexasLocalFood.org), detailing qualifications, proposed strategies, and references from previous projects. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis until a contractor is selected.

Join Us in Making a Difference

At TCLF, we’re driven by the belief that everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy food. By partnering with farmers markets and dedicated organizations, we can make this vision a reality. Together, let’s empower SNAP recipients, support local agriculture, and build stronger, healthier communities. We eagerly anticipate your proposals as we embark on this journey of positive change.

Farmers Market managers convened in San Antonio during the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA) Conference on January 29, 2024 for the 3rd annual Farmers Market Track meetup and market-focused sessions.

Nino Budabin McQuown, the Farmers Market Coalition Food Access Project Manager, broke down 2022 data on national farmers market statistics and highlighted specific impacts in Texas. Check out Nino’s recorded presentation with a free login and enrollment at TXFED.org.

TCLF’s Anna Wright Smith taught a course on how to accept SNAP, and the Sustainable Food Center’s Wanda Hernandez and Jeanette Castañón shared about nutrition incentives and how they work. Yelitza Garcia of TCLF led market leaders in “How to Make your Market Welcoming to SNAP Shoppers,” featuring excellent advice and tools from Liz Shafer of Texas Farmers’ Markets.

MarketLink and FNS joined us at TOFGA for the first time this year, approving 4 farms and 2 markets to receive the EBT equipment grant and start accepting SNAP!

We hope you’ll join us next year at the TOFGA Conference!

Don’t miss out, are you interested in accepting SNAP at your farmers market? Join us for an information session on Wednesday, February 28 at 5:30 PM Central. Register for the webinar on Zoom and prepare your questions. We can’t wait to see you there!

Visit our Community page to join the Texas Network of Farmers Markets: https://texaslocalfood.org/community/

Title screen that shows the title of the presentation, Money Left on the Table: How Increased Food Access Benefits Farmers and a photograph of a farmer selling produce.
Promotional poster for Small Food Producers conference that shows a photograph of people sitting at tables and taking notes attentively. There are also images of produce adorning the image.

The Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) was recently invited to attend and speak at the Small Food Producers Conference hosted by Grow Local South Texas in Corpus Christi. This comprehensive event was designed to offer educational presentations catering specifically to the needs of small farms, ranches, cottage food businesses, and homesteaders. The conference agenda featured a diverse range of sessions and presentations, addressing topics from urban conservation to soil health and small business growth, providing a comprehensive and enriching experience for small food producers. This particular event aligned with TCLF’s goal to provide knowledge and resources to small food producers and was a valuable opportunity to listen to the needs and challenges of our audience.

This year, TCLF chose to present on the importance of accepting SNAP at farmers markets and the outcomes of our project, “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market.” SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps), is a food allowance given to shoppers on a monthly basis. It is the nation’s most successful anti-hunger program and is a powerful stimulus when used with local food businesses. The Fresh Look project has two goals: to increase the number of farmers markets that accept SNAP and to increase SNAP sales at markets already accepting SNAP, thereby increasing the amount of money going directly to producers’ pockets. The second year of this project is almost wrapped up, so we were happy to present positive outcomes to the project, including providing one-on-one technical assistance to 37 Fresh Look partner sites and saving our partners over $15,000 in signs and social marketing promotion.

The event that stood out to us most wasn’t a presentation; it was a lunchtime town hall-style discussion. This discussion aimed to understand the challenges and obstacles that food producers encounter when selling at farmers’ markets. As one farmer pointed out, “We grow, harvest, clean, package, and drive to the market ourselves. It’s hard enough just to make it to the market in time.” Wearing multiple hats – from entrepreneur to ecologist and marketer – is the reality for small food producers. Many of them expressed a shared aspiration: building a consistent customer base to sustain their operations and to contribute to Texas’ food supply. Farmers are the cornerstone of TCLF’s work, and we were honored to be present in that discussion. It allowed us to contemplate how we can further connect farmers with resources and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.


After the event ended, one food producer caught up with us in the parking lot to talk more about accepting SNAP. “We’re so thankful,” she said. “This program has been great not just for us, but for our local community, too.” As we continue to collaborate and build bridges within the Texas food system, events like these reaffirm our commitment to supporting local food producers.

Title screen that shows the title of the presentation, Money Left on the Table: How Increased Food Access Benefits Farmers and a photograph of a farmer selling produce.

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

Howdy all! I participated today in a virtual tour of an online set up for farmers markets in northeast Iowa. The customers order and pay online, the group aggregates from the various producers and delivers at the farmers markets. The system is convenient for lots of shoppers and seems to work best for non-weekend markets when customers are more in a hurry. It’s a new project and the folks in Iowa are learning a lot and they’re happy to share. Check them out and be sure to tell them Texas Local Food sent you at Curbside Markets!

Curbside Markets – northeast iowa

The Texas Center for Local Food team joined our peers at the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association conference in Georgetown, TX. We hosted the 1st annual Texas Network of Farmers Markets Meet Up, led 4 TXFED.org sessions in person, facilitated a Farmers Discussing Farmers Market panel, and distributed information at our booth. It was a great experience to meet with our current collaborators, network with potential partners, and better understand the needs of food producers and market organizers we serve. Our time at the conference has further motivated our mission to create more market opportunities for local food producers & offer technical support to increase the exchange of food & money within Texas.

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.

Hello food system folks!
Do people tell you that you’re pleasant to work with, competent, and a dedicated worker?  If so, then one (1) of our four (4) open positions in Texas may be a good match for you. All are full-time.  Please share with others too!

We have three (3) positions to support farmers markets across Texas to increase sales of Texas-grown fruits and vegetables to SNAP shoppers. These farmers market support positions are all remote and will require travel within Texas. Texas residents and those willing to relocate to Texas are preferred; (no relocation costs are paid.)

We have one (1) Education Specialist position to lead the Farm-to-Kids Texas after school program in Elgin, TX and support online course development for adult learners with TXFED.org. This position requires in person work in Elgin, TX and travel within central TX.

If you think we might be a good match together, please apply today!
https://apply.workable.com/texas-center-for-local-food/
We appreciate you sharing with colleagues.  Let’s keep building a stronger food system.

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