With high unemployment and high grocery prices, even the most successful New Yorkers are taking a hit, so you can imagine what kind of state the low income families are in. It’s no secret that many low income neighborhoods lack in fresh food markets and for that reason have been linked to obesity for years. So, in an effort to supplement wholesome, fresh meals to low income families, New York City Greenmarkets have been accepting food stamps for quite a while. However, with more NYers out of work, last year the purchases doubled to half a million in sales.

Back in 2006 when food stamps switched to automated EBT machines, many Greenmarkets noticed a decrease in food stamp sales since they didn’t have access to an EBT machine for purchases. So Speaker Quinn and the City Council teamed up with the GrowNYC to provide funding for Greenmarkets to have EBT machines. The program was an immediate success by starting out in the Bronx where sales went from nothing to $500 a day and this year, the 175th St. Greenmarket led the city in food stamp sales with $65,419.

Now, there are EBT machines at 40 Greenmarkets and GrowNYC conducted a major marketing plan in 2010 urging people to use their food stamps at the local markets which provide healthy, local food and support local jobs. It’s working because in 2009 food stamp purchases at Greenmarkets were $251,000 and in 2010 they doubled to $500,000. Some markets have even reported nearly $6,000 in food stamp sales in a single day. In addition, over 80 perfect of total food stamp dollars were used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables… not soda, Mr. Bloomberg.

If you were laid-off in 2010 like over 8 percent of the New York workforce, you may be eligible. Also, if you make less than $18,000 or less than $50,000 and have children, you could get food stamps for your Greenmarket shopping.

To find out about EBT eligiblity, see New York City Coalition Against Hunger or Food Change.  For information about food stamps or food stamp office locations call: 1-866-FOODNYC (866-366-3692), visit the Human Resource Administration or call 311. The hearing impaired can TTY (212) 504-4115.

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Image by Shorts and Longs | The Both And