Farmers and food groups innovate to keep operations viable as the coronavirus spreads

As the spread of the coronavirus causes many cities to curtail public gatherings, farmers who sell directly to customers at farmers' markets and through CSAs are coming up with novel solutions at breakneck speed to keep their customers fed and their operations viable. For one farmer, a pool noodle is an essential part of the plan.(No paywall)

In North Carolina, pandemic prompts farmer cooperation

Even before he knew that city officials in Durham, North Carolina, would be suspending the local farmers’ market, George O’Neal was preparing for disruption. Last Saturday, he stood behind a table piled high with mustard greens and kale, holding a clipboard and taking names for what he hopes will become a model of coronavirus-era collaboration.(No paywall)

As coronavirus spreads, farmers fear market closures and lost income

Communities across the country are attempting to delay the spread of the novel coronavirus by canceling large events, closing schools, and banning large gatherings. But farmers who sell directly to consumers, through farmers' markets or other channels, are concerned about how their farms will survive if those outlets temporarily shutter.(No paywall)

A capital infusion for SNAP payments at farmers’ markets

An Austin-based payments company whose pending shutdown last summer threatened the ability of thousands of farmers’ markets to accept food stamps has received a $2-million lifeline from Square, the financial technology company, reports Jane Black in FERN’s latest story, published in collaboration with The Washington Post. (No paywall)

Permanent fix needed for SNAP purchases at farmers markets

Far more than farmer revenue is at stake in the threatened loss of SNAP sales at 40 percent of U.S. farmers markets, said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Monday. "We believe that farmers’ ability to serve low-income families is not just important for their bottom line but also critical to genuinely healthy food systems," said the grassroots alliance in calling for a long-term solution that assures food stamp recipients can use their EBT cards to buy fresh foods at farmers markets.

California avoids the SNAP snafu engulfing farmers markets

California offers an example of how to avoid the electronic equipment snarl that threatens SNAP sales at 40 percent of farmers markets across the nation, says The New Food Economy. "Their method? Creating a system partially, if not fully independent of the federal system."

New York taps controversial bonus program to preserve SNAP at farmers markets

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to ensure farmers markets can continue accepting SNAP benefits through the end of the market season relies on funding from a controversial federal program that rewards states for implementing SNAP with low error rates—and that lawmakers may eliminate in the next farm bill. (No paywall)

New York State deal keeps SNAP working at farmers markets

Food stamp recipients in New York State will be able to use EBT cards, without interruption, at farmers markets throughout New York for the rest of the market season, announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

As processor shutdown looms, nonprofit funds another month of SNAP at farmers markets

One week after FERN and the Washington Post reported on the imminent shutdown of an EBT payment processor responsible for 40 percent of all SNAP transactions at farmers markets, a national farmers market advocacy group has stepped in to fund the processor’s operations for another month. (No paywall)