Use your SNAP benefits at the farmers' market

FINDLAY, OH (June 4, 2024) — Shoppers are expected to spend over $2,000 in SNAP tokens this season at the Hancock County Farmers’ Market through a collaboration with United Way of Hancock County, the farmers’ market, Habitat for Humanity’s Financial Opportunities Center and the OSU Extension – Hancock County Office.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (called SNAP) can be exchanged for tokens each week at the farmers’ market. These tokens can be used to purchase market items including fresh produce, honey, hot sauce, baked goods, food plants and more.

Additionally, with each SNAP token, the customer receives a 1 to 1 match, up to $25, in Produce Perks. Tokens through the USDA-backed Produce Perks program can be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables and may be saved for use later.

Bobbie Sue Grenerth, volunteer interpretive planner for the Hancock County Farmers’ Market, said $2,461 in SNAP sales were captured during the 2023 market season. This, combined with $1,627 in Produce Perks sales utilized by 52 local households, yielded 1,914 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables accessed through these incentives.

Feeding America estimates that 11% of Hancock County residents are food insecure. Grenerth noted that partnerships such as this help market shoppers to stretch their food dollars further while supporting over 30 local members/vendors.

“Programs like these not only directly provide assistance to those in need of nutritional resources, they also support local farms and small business owners,” Grenerth said. “The farmers’ market is deeply appreciative of community partnerships with United Way of Hancock County, OSU Extension of Hancock County and the Habitat for Humanity Financial Opportunity Center to make these programs possible.”

Angela DeBoskey, CEO of United Way of Hancock County, explained the SNAP partnership with the farmers’ market was initiated in 2022 in direct response to anticipated cuts to emergency SNAP allocations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As SNAP allotments were projected to fall, the United Way stepped in to help fill this gap by securing state funding for the project.

“In Hancock County, 2 out of every 5 kids don’t have enough food,” DeBoskey said. “We have wonderful partner agencies that are committed to feeding hungry people in our community. This collaboration complements those efforts well by giving families a unique, seasonal opportunity to choose their favorite produce items.

“We are happy to connect families to local producers, and we thank the Hancock County Farmers’ Market and county government officials for their partnership.”

The Hancock County Farmers’ Market is open every Thursday from 4-6 p.m. through the end of October at 200 W. Main Cross St. in downtown Findlay. Visit the Welcome canopy with your Ohio Direction card to get started using your SNAP benefits at the market.

Additional market programs include:

•  Senior Nutrition Program: Vouchers are distributed to senior citizens by the local Agency on Aging in partnership with the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network. These state funds can be spent at grocery stores or the farmers’ market, and can be used on items similar to those for the SNAP program.  The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program has been funded at least in part with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the support of the Ohio Department of Aging, and the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network.

•  POP Stars (Power of Produce): Kids ages 4-15 can sign up to receive $4 in tokens each week throughout the summer at the farmers’ market, to be spent on produce. This program, made possible through a partnership with Blanchard Valley Health System, is designed to encourage youth in food exploration and to build healthy habits. 

•  3rd Thursdays: In addition to the traditional farmers’ market member/vendors, 3rd Thursdays include booths from service organizations, charities and community groups, along with performing artists and live cooking demonstrations.