State To Use Federal Funds For Wireless Food Assistance Card Readers At Farmers' Markets

July 15, 2013

Low-income families who want to eat healthy are now able to use food assistance debit cards at local farmers' markets. The state is using federal funds to install wireless card readers at some outdoor produce stands. Arizona has received $27,000 dollars to install wifi card readers at dozens of fruit and veggie roadside markets. 

The effort started nationally this month. At first the state declined to participate in the program because farmers showed little interest, but the Department of Economic Security decided to get involved after doing more outreach. 

DES spokeswoman Tasya Peterson said the new card readers will help families who receive aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as “SNAP." 

“The key is to get folks eating nutritional products, and Arizona I’m sure is happy to participate in getting folks eating some healthy home grown food,” said Peterson.

She said more than a dozen local farmers' markets installed their own wireless card readers before the state received the federal grant. 

The money was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after First Lady Michelle Obama launched her campaign to fight childhood obesity.

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