Grand Rapids Farmers' Market Accepts EBT Cards, Receives Great Response

By KBJR News 1

October 10, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2012 at 6:43 PM CDT

Grand Rapids, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Perhaps no place in Minnesota has been more impacted by lingering unemployment rates than Grand Rapids. For families struggling to get by with less, putting food on the table can be a challenge and putting healthy food on the table even more difficult.

The Grand Rapids Farmers' Market began accepting EBT cards, formerly known as food stamps, for the first time this year, with staggering results. Officials from the Farmer's Market say their EBT sales this year are more than all the EBT sales of other Minnesota markets last year combined. Their total EBT sales so far are $7,420.

"One of the best things that's happened in my time here is being able to offer EBT to these folks," said Grand Rapids Farmers' Market member, Jesse Davis.

The Grand Rapids farmers market joined 24 others in the state this year by accepting EBT cards.

"You can add new customers to your customer base here and you can be doing your community a service," said Davis of the benefits the market has seen by accepting EBT cards.

"A lot of these sales we wouldn't have had otherwise, so it's been good for everybody," said Market Manager, Kent Lorentzen, "With using their card they're able to get their food and the vendors can get the extra sales."

"We're really trying to help folks, we're trying to improve the health of people in our community," said Davis.

The Grand Rapids Farmers' Market was able to accept the EBT cards through grants from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Blue Cross Blue Shield, which helped fund the POS system needed to swipe the cards.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.