Illinois EBT Wireless Project is Expanding!
The Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project will expand access to fresh produce for low-income residents and boost the sale of locally grown, healthy food across the state by enabling farmers’ markets to accept Illinois Link cards, which access federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, wirelessly at minimal cost for the first time.
- Funded by a grant of approximately $35,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Agriculture with the support from the Office of the Lt. Governor.
- Will reimburse farmers’ markets up to $1,200 for the purchase or rental of a wireless EBT machine and fees for activation and wireless service.
This program is part of a $4 million nationwide effort by the USDA to increase SNAP use at farmers’ markets. SNAP sales at Illinois farmers’ markets totaled nearly $70,000 in 2011, an increase of over 522 percent since 2009.
The number of farmers’ markets and direct-marketing farmers certified to accept SNAP has increased from 15 in 2009 to 49 in 2011. The grant will help increase the number of markets accepting Link cards, allowing more than 1 in 4 markets statewide to cater to people receiving food stamp benefits.
Farmers’ Markets Today
Twenty-nine farmers’ markets across Illinois will each receive $1,200 grants from the Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project.
The 29 farmers’ markets that have been selected are located in different counties across Illinois and range from large operations with nearly 100 vendors and artisans to tiny ventures with less than five farmers selling produce. These markets must obtain certification to accept SNAP benefits through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and have signed a contract with the Illinois Department of Agriculture that requires disclosure of sales data, use of the wireless machine on all market days, and participation in required trainings, before seeking reimbursement from the program.
The IL EBT Wireless Project is made possible by partnerships with…
USDA Food and Nutrition Service, The Office of the Lieutenant Governor Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Farmers Market Association, Experimental Station, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Illinois EBT Wireless Project Participants
Alsip Farmers Market, Alton Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, Aurora’s Farmers Market East Carbondale Community Friday Night Fairs, Central Park Farmers Market, Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market, DeKalb Farmers’ Market Organized by Re:New DeKalb, Elmwood Park Farmers Market, F.R.E.S.H. Farmers Market, Haymarket Square Park Farmers Market, Hopkins Park / Pembroke Farmers’ Market, Independence Park Farmers Market, LA GRANGE FARMERS MARKET, Lincoln Square Thursday Evening Farmers Market, Lockport Farmer’s Market, Loyola Farmers Market, Morton Grove Farmers’ Market, Northbrook Farmers Market, Old Capitol Farmers Market, Oswego Country Market, Portage Park Farmer’s Market, Ridgeville Farmers’ Market, Shelbyville Farmers Market, Summit Park District, The Land of Goshen Community Market,The Lawndale Farmers Market, Trinity United Church of Christ Farmers Market, Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital , Youth Foundation Farm Market
Contact any of the following people to learn more about this great program and how to get started today!
- Laura Hepp Kessel, MSW, Policy Analyst for Rural Affairs, Office of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, 217-558-3728 (Office), 217-558-3094 (Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delayne Reeves, Marketing Representative, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Marketing and Promotions, Phone: 217/524-9129, Fax: 217/524-5960, email@example.com
- Pat Stieren, Executive Director, Illinois Farmers Market Association, Phone: 217/522-4274, firstname.lastname@example.org