Bennington County farmers markets accept food assistance programs

By:  Makayla McGeeney

BENNINGTON — More often, consumers are carrying less cash and more plastic. However, not all businesses accept major credit cards, like vendors at the farmers market for example.

In Vermont, there are currently more than 80,000 people who received 3SquaresVT food assistance benefits, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Those who qualify can use the government programs at farmers market to purchase fresh produce, poultry and bread.

At the Bennington Farmers Market, 3SquaresVT users are eligible for two different monetary exchanges. There's the $1 wooden tokens paired with a crop cash coupon that's part of the Crop Cash Incentive Program, and then there's the Vermont Farm to Family Program under the Department of Agriculture.

Those who go to the market without cash can use a credit card to get $5 wooden tokens to buy whatever they want. If there's a $3 cookie being bought with a $5 token, cash will be given as change. This is separate from any government program as the market's own cash credit card substitute.

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