SNAP Expands to Farmer's Market in Old Town Alexandria

Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, will now be able to purchase select foods at the farmer's market.

The Old Town Farmer’s Market is now participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

The new program at the market will allow eligible customers to purchase fresh vegetables, meats, fish, baked good, jams and other items beginning April 27.

The city received a $1,200 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase technology allowing the program at the market and to cover the cost of transaction fees during the first year, according to city Director of General Services Jeremy McPike.

“It’s a great opportunity to open up more access to healthy foods, and we’re going to do everything we can to help provide that access,” McPike said, adding that the city worked with the local Health Department and the Alexandria Obesity Child Action Network on the project.

A booth will be set up in Market Square for SNAP participants, who will request coin-like tokens there that they can spend with select vendors.

The customers will then purchase goods such as milk or vegetables from a vendor, who will take the tokens and at the end of the market day turn them into the city. In return, the city will reimburse the vendors.

Participants should note that no change is given from a market vendor so program organizers advise residents to bring small change. For example, if a loaf of bread costs $3.10, the vendor will not be able to return 90 cents to the purchaser if that buyer uses a $4 token. Tokens are available in denominations as low as $1.

McPike said city staff and vendors are now well trained on the new program and questions can also be directed to the SNAP booth staffers.

The Four Mile Run market located just off Mt. Vernon Avenue in Arlandria was the first market in Alexandria or Arlington County to employ SNAP.



Sunny O'Malley April 23, 2013 at 07:34 PM
It is nice to see the City of Alexandria is celebrating the acceptance of food stamps at the Farmer's Market, nevermind the high unemployment due to federal policies that are disincentives to grow the economy. Maybe we can get 10 million people on food stamps so the vendors can increase their business at City Hall. I like Jeremy McPike’s quote in the article, sounds like a real politician. This is the guy found guilty in the whistleblower law suit against the city, who is collecting a huge city salary and also currently running for the Virginia House of Delegates in Prince William County as a Democrat. This is what Alexandria gets with a one party system in place.
DelRayRez April 26, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Never mind that any produce sold there is more expensive than what's at a local supermarket. So much for stretching those SNAP dollars !


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