More Pennsylvanians than ever before are receiving government food assistance (SNAP). Many Pennsylvania farmer's markets are now accepting SNAP, learn how your can too!

Cheryl Burns of Capital RC&D gave WAgN members a presentation on how to accept SNAP (food stamps) at the farmer's market. Accepting SNAP will attract more customers to your market, allow low-income customers to support local farms while getting fresh healthy foods and also allow your market to accept debit cards. The process takes a little planning: first you apply and get approved to accept SNAP, then you secure a card reading (EBT) machine and devise a token system, then you market your new convenience and start accepting SNAP. The EBT machines have monthly and pre-swipe fees associated with them, so a central fund for market managing is required. The whole process can take as little as 2 months. Here are some notes from Cheryl's talk:

SNAP/Food Stamp Participants in Pennsylvania

An estimated 1 in 5 Pennsylvanians are eligible for SNAP and 1 in 7 are participating. The average household benefit is $265 a month. However, many seniors only get $16 a month.

- Over 40% of SNAP recipients are children in PA

- 28% of SNAP-eligible Pennsylvanians are elderly, but they currently only make up a little over 6% of participants

- Less than 13% of SNAP recipient are also receiving cash assistance

- More people are new to the program than ever before!

SNAP by County

How can your market participate?

The first step is to get board, vendors and staff on board and ensure there will be one tent and group of people responsible for processing the SNAP swipe cards at every market (typically the market manager's tent or a welcome tent).

- Go to

to review rules for accepting EBT, read through application process

- Apply or register with USDA-FNS, visit - Prepare market to accept benefits: accounting, cash handling (incl. cash equivalents), vendor agreements, outreach & marketing plan

Once your market is approved, register for a swipe card reader, this will allow you to accept SNAP and debit cards at one location where customers will exchange their electronic benefits for market tokens to spend at vendor tents.

Swipe card readers through RC&D- Wireless EBT/Debit Market Usage Fees*:

- $45.00 per MonthEBT machine

- Wireless Access

- Monthly Statement

- $.15/ per EBT swipe

- $.40/ per Debit swipe

Resources for SNAP at the Farmers Market

What SNAP can & cannot purchase:

Farmers Market portal

Adams County & assistance

For more information, contact Cheryl Burns, Capital RC&D, 401 E. Louther St., Ste. 307, Carlisle, PA 17013, 717.241.4361 or

Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network


302 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802