Thanks to a fund grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) will provide a number of farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with free electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment to process Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
According to a DHS press release, “The program is available only to SNAP-authorized farmers markets and direct marketing farmers that were authorized before November 18, 2011. If the applying farmers and farmers markets receive approval, the FMC will cover the costs of purchasing or renting SNAP EBT equipment and services (set-up costs, monthly service fees, and wireless fees) for up to three (3) years. Though transaction fees will not be covered, the selected farmers and farmers markets can choose their own SNAP EBT service provider from a list of participating companies. The Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program is a first-come first-serve opportunity, and the program ends when the funds have been distributed.
But other farmers’ markets may be eligible for SNAP EBT equipment through another program called MarketLink. For details, see www.marketlink.org.
Big Island markets accepting EBT cards include the Hawi Farmers’ Market in Hawi, the Kino`ole Farmers’ Market and Hilo Farmers’ Market in Hilo, The Keauhou Farmer’s Market in Kailua-Kona, the Hilo Coffeee Mill Farmer’s Market in Mountain View, the Maku`u Farmers’ Market near Pahoa, and the Volcano Farmers’ Market in Volcano.