Low-income Minnesotans will be able to pay with food stamps at more farmers markets this year.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services says 13 of the state's roughly 140 farmers markets have committed to accept food stamps, but officials expect that number will eventually reach into the dozens.
They include markets in Richfield, Albert Lea, Duluth, and Rochester, as well as Minneapolis' main farmers market and the Midtown site. Several of them open this Saturday.
Markets had to pay for card readers to accept food stamp payments, which are issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. A grant program is helping some of them acquire the machines.
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said this is a good way to help more Minnesotans get nutritious food.
"I think this is access to healthy food at a very reasonable price," Jesson said. "And access to healthy food is particularly important for many of our enrollees."
A few markets will offer an incentive for people to pay with food stamps. They'll match the first $5 people spend on fruits or vegetables.