Farmers markets now taking food stamps as payment

Applications for the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, for both WIC and Senior Citizens, are now available.

The two programs benefit low-income families and individuals in Iowa. WIC aids women, infants, and young children and the Senior program is for adults over the age of 60.

Both the WIC and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program aid the low income by giving them checks to use at local farmers markets to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

Vendors at the LeClaire Farmers Market said it’s a win-win; those who have accepted the program’s checks in the past say it actually helped them make more money.

“About a third of my sales was with the WIC program,” said Lucy Dawson, a vendor at the LeClaire Farmers Market. “There was a lot of young mothers and senior citizens that would come in and buy our fruits and vegetables.”

One problem in LeClaire, as well as other farmers markets, is that the vendors aren’t aware of the programs.

“What we’re finding is that not many people know about it,” said Terri Applegate, President of the Farmers Market Board. “We need to educate our farmers market vendors for the use in [the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs]. There’s a little bit of paperwork that they have to go through, but it’s easy enough to apply for.”

Those who are eligible get their checks on a first come first serve basis and the checks will be offered in every county in Iowa.

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