Bismarck – Over 56,000 people in North Dakota are under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – also known as SNAP.
The program gives low-income families benefits to help put food on their table…
But As Emily Medalen explains-they're not just for the supermarket anymore…
"Fruits and veggies often do tend to be a little more expensive," says Shantel Burrer, BisMarket SNAP Outreach Coordinator.
Which is why, oftentimes, low-income shoppers tend to migrate towards the less expensive, and sometimes less healthy food at the store.
That's why 9 North Dakota farmer's markets are now accepting SNAP benefits.
"It really helps people in our community get access to food that they may not have access to," says Burrer.
Arlene Dura with the ND Dept. of Human Services says it's especially beneficial for a one specific age group.
"Almost half of our recipients are children," says Arlene Dura, ND Dept. of Human Services.
"Healthy habits are developed at an early age. So the earlier we can develop healthy habits, the better we'll be later on in life," says Jan Stankiewicz, Community Health & Nutrition Specialist.
They said before SNAP came to farmer's markets last year, many of these children weren't getting proper nutrients.
"When kids can actually grab a vegetable or a fruit from a farmer that grew it, I think that relationship that's built is so important, and it really sticks with the kids," says Stankiewicz.
Burrer says now, hundreds more families are able to supply fresh, healthy food for their kids. "They're all very grateful when they come and they're able to have those extra dollars to buy things that maybe weren't in the budget for the month."
To find out if you're eligible for SNAP, contact your local county social service office – they'll walk you through the process.
It's based on things like income, number of people in your household, shelter expenses, and childcare costs.
Below is a link to participating farmer's markets in the state.