(UPDATE: 8/2/18) Changes in SNAP will make it harder to get fresh produce in Wards 7 and 8
UPDATE: August 2, 2018
BREAKING NEWS: @NYGovCuomo announced an agreement has been reached with Novo Dia Group to enable #SNAP recipients to continue to use their benefits at farmers markets across the state, and *nationwide* through the rest of the farmers market season. https://t.co/AXQt27LSYu— FarmersMkt Coalition (@FMCorg) July 27, 2018
The good news is that there are 16 farmers' markets in Wards 7 and 8 in 2018.
The bad news was just shared by DCist in SNAP Benefits At Farmers Markets Imperiled For 120,000 D.C. Residents. According to the article, people will not be able to use their SNAP benefits at a number of farmers' markets starting September 1, 2018. Why? The federal government changed SNAP payment processor contractors.
This change hits Wards 7 and 8 harder than other parts of the city. As we wrote in the farmers' markets post,
Because fresh produce is harder to get in Wards 7 and 8 than in other parts of the city—Wards 7 and 8 are food deserts, after all—markets east of the Anacostia River are the predominant distributors of Produce Plus checks. Writes DC Greens, administrator of the Produce Plus program funded by the Department of Health,
Why is Produce Plus only distributed in certain wards?
Because Produce Plus funding is limited, the program is prioritizing areas of the city that have the fewest places to buy fresh produce. This change will allow the limited funds to best support the growth of farmers' markets in wards where fresh food is difficult to find. Customers may still spend Produce Plus checks in all wards of the city.
Following the story
Stay tuned to the Washington Post and DCist for updates on this important farmers' markets payment story.