The Baker-Polito administration announced that farmers and markets in Massachusetts will be granted SNAP-processing equipment to help expand food access for residents with low incomes. This equipment grant is to promote the acceptance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at mobile markets, says DeForge.
On December 5, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced that $95,000 worth of SNAP-processing equipment will be awarded to 65 local farmers and their markets. This equipment grant program is offered through the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), is in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), and is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
This program provided a total of $160,000 worth of equipment and services to 110 local farmers and their markets. The application for this program was open from April 20 until September 30. Local farmers and markets used this program to acquire new or updated SNAP equipment from Novo Dia Group for free, according to McCorkindale.
Officials Released Statements on the Program
Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders stated that the program aims to build on the success of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program and include more than 100 new Healthy Incentives Program vendors. DTA reportedly works on empowering over 600,000 SNAP households to purchase food in their local communities. This program is also believed to bring fundamental economic support into Massachusetts’ food system, their farmers, and employees, says Department of Transitional Assistance Acting Commissioner Mary Sheehan.
John Lebeaux, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, also commended the program for providing the local farmers and markets the ability to receive SNAP payments. Correspondingly, this program is believed to bring new customers to Massachusetts’ local farm businesses and increase access to fresh, local foods for the residents, as reported by Bennett.