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KBIA's Harvest Desk covers food and agriculture issues in Missouri and beyond. The desk is a collaboration between KBIA and Harvest Public Media, a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. The desk is headed by reporter Kristofor Husted.

Grant Awarded to Improve SNAP Use at Farmers Markets

Natalie Maynor

The US Department of Agriculture awarded a grant to help low-income families access affordable, healthful food in Boone County.

About $150,000 dollars was granted to better connect families in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to fresh food at the farmers market.

Targeted marketing and mailing to low-income households is part of the strategy, according to Kenneth Pigg , with Sustainable Farms and Communities in Columbia. He said the grant will be used to reach out to people enrolled in or eligible for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, to tell them their benefits extend to the farmers market.

In addition, he said setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot at the Columbia farmers market will help.

“Those who are shopping at the market can tell their story to their peers and perhaps persuade them that this is not as it’s perceived to be – an expensive place to shop,” he said.

Pigg said they’ve set a goal of tripling the amount of people using SNAP benefits at the market, while helping markets in Centralia and Ashland improve access, too.

The USDA gave out $8.1 million in grants to projects in 23 states under the SNAP Farmers Market Support Grants.  The overall goal for the grants is to expand SNAP use in farmers markets.

Kristofor left KBIA in fall of 2021
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