Beginning Saturday, July 23, 2016 grocery shoppers will be able to use their federal food assistance benefits (SNAP) to easily buy fresh local food at the Homegrown Johns Island Farmers Market.
Hunger is a persistent issue on the Sea Islands and in other parts of Charleston County. More than 47,000 men, women and children rely on SNAP benefits each month. Despite this nutrition assistance, many people still cannot afford healthy fresh food, as there are no other farmers markets that accept the program in the Charleston area. Johns Island Farmers Market was awarded a Snap Support grant from Eat Smart Move More SC that will help create a model and pave the way for other markets to accept SNAP & Healthy Bucks.
Current shopping experiences at the Johns Island Farmers Market will stay the same and enjoyable for everyone else. The implementation of this program is an added benefit for the community, allowing for more fresh food access, improving health, and bolstering further support for local farms and businesses.
Homegrown Johns Island Farmers Market is open year round every Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM June through August. In September the hours change to 10 AM to 2 PM until May. The market takes place at 3546 Maybank Highway, near the intersection of Maybank and Main Roads.
Adults and families who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) can use their EBT cards at the farmers market to purchase fruits, vegetables, plant starts, meat, dairy, bread, honey, and other eligible foods. Operating under an umbrella SNAP acceptance, clients can take their cards to the information booth at the Johns Island Farmers Market and receive tokens to purchase food from qualifying vendors. As an incentive for healthy eating, they will receive $10 free in Healthy Bucks tokens for fresh fruits and vegetables when they spend at least $5 on their EBT cards, as a part of the Double Your Healthy Bucks program. The Healthy Bucks incentive program helps low-income shoppers stretch their benefits and put more fresh fruits and vegetables on their families’ tables. It also attracts new customers to the market who otherwise might not consider shopping there.
Submitted by Frasier Block, Johns Island Farmers Market