The Upper Ocmulgee River Resource Conservation and Development Council, has received a $99,000 grant from the USDA Agriculture Marketing Services to implement a new local farmers’ market program. Georgia’s Electronic Benefit Transfer Farmers’ Market Program assists local communities in their effort to promote and market fresh fruits and vegetables. The Upper Ocmulgee River RC&D Council and other Georgia RC&D Councils have created a partnership with Georgia Department of Human Resources to implement this effort. This project will provide new wireless EBT/debit card terminals and training needed to implement the program.
Rockdale Farmers’ Market along with one from Henry County and three from Gwinnett will have electronic terminals.
The program’s goal is to install 16 new EBT terminals at community farmers’ markets and implement educational outreach programs throughout Georgia. The new EBT terminals and token system will make it possible for low income or Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to purchase fresh food near their homes. Recent studies have found that a large number of child and adult obesity cases are located in low-income communities where there are urban "food deserts," (meaning very few grocery stores) where fresh fruits and vegetables are not readily available.
Traditionally, most local farmers’ markets do not accept EBT, debit or credit cards. This means, SNAP recipients did not have the opportunity the purchase fresh & healthy fruits and vegetables at many local farmers markets in Georgia until now. Some of the markets will open in April while others will do so in the following months.