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Thanks, New York, on behalf of farmers, low-income consumers

Products like these pickles from Ina Pickle are for sell at the Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar every Sunday below the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga Streets.
Products like these pickles from Ina Pickle are for sell at the Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar every Sunday below the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga Streets. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

This farmers market season has been one of uncertainty for both markets and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries in Maryland and across the nation. In the beginning of July, the vendor whose software is used by many markets to accept SNAP benefits electronically announced it would no longer provide this service as of July 31. Fortunately, the state of New York and the Farmers Market Federation of New York stepped in to ensure that SNAP benefits will continue to be accepted at farmers markets nationwide (“Maryland farmers markets will continue accepting SNAP benefits through at least February,” Aug. 6). They are providing emergency support to keep the Mobile Market app — an app developed by the Novo Dia Group that allows farmers market vendors to accept SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) payments — up and running for the next six months. Eighteen of Maryland’s 24 farmers markets that accept SNAP rely on Novo Dia Group’s software to process SNAP payments.

The state of New York’s move to provide the necessary financing to keep this software accessible to farmers market vendors is good for local farmers who depend on farmers markets to sell their harvest and earn a living. It also benefits low-income consumers in Maryland and across the nation who can continue to use their SNAP benefits to access fresh, local produce while contributing to their local economy.

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Michael J. Wilson, Baltimore

The writer is director of Maryland Hunger Solutions.

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