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People on food stamps may no longer be able to shop at farmers’ markets

Squabbles over a government contract may prevent low-income families from having easy access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables.

At issue: The ability of low-income Americans on government assistance to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to buy food at farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets have to be equipped to accept the EBT cards. If markets are not able to operate devices that can handle EBT payments, vendors must use manual paper vouchers instead.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a statement released Saturday that the Food Assistance Program is “committed” to encouraging farmers’ market participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — also called food stamps — to improve access for low-income Americans while supporting economic opportunities for farmers and producers.

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