By: Michael Ceja, Michigan Ag Council Ambassador
Did you know that over 1 million Michiganders receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or better known as food stamps, every year? The average monthly contribution rounds out to be about $117 per person, providing over $100 million to families around the state for healthy and fresh meals.
The majority of Michiganders that participate in this program do so using what is known as the Bridge Card.
The Bridge Card is used much like a traditional “debit card,” except you use it to purchase fruits, vegetables, other foods, as well as seeds and plants that will produce edible food.
Farmer’s Markets and SNAP
Did you know you can redeem food stamps for fresh foods and produce at farmers markets? Many markets around the state offer customers the option to purchase locally grown produce at farmers markets using this program. When visiting a farmer’s market, you can bring your Bridge Card to the SNAP information booth, where you will exchange your funds for tokens or vouchers to be used as cash.
How Does It Work?
A standard EBT token allows you to purchase anything that your Bridge Card could be used for including, fruits and vegetables, sauces, honey, food-producing plants, cookies, and even your milk, eggs, and meat.
Another program that many farmers markets participate in is “Double-Up Food Bucks.” This program doubles your money, making every deal a “buy one, get one” deal. For every $1 spent on eligible items, Double-Up Food Bucks will give you $1 more to spend on more fruits and veggies (up to $20 per day). Double-Up Food Bucks tokens can be exclusively used to purchase fruits and vegetables and plants that will produce edible food. While it limits the types of foods you can buy, it allows you to buy more of it. With this program, you can purchase up to $40 worth of food for only $20 per day!
What can/can’t I use my Bridge Card on?
The Michigan Farmer’s Market Association (MIFMA) has outlined eligible products for each form of currency on their website, MIFMA.org.
Michigan is home to over 300 farmers markets that run during every month of the year. To find one near you, visit MIFMA.org/find-a-farmers-market.