Farmers' Market Program
In order to participate in the EBT Farmers’ Market Program, each market must be authorized by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. To apply, call (877) 823-4369 or click here.
Most EBT farmers’ markets use scrip. Scrip is a type of currency, in the form of paper or tokens (wooden or plastic), designed to be unique to each market, in denominations of $.50 and/or $1.00. From a central location at the farmers’ market, EBT cardholders can use their EBT cards to purchase scrip. They use this scrip to purchase CalFresh-eligible items from farmers at the market. At the end of the day, farmers are reimbursed by the market for the amount of scrip they have received.
IMPORTANT: A farmers’ market must have its scrip approved by the FNS before the market can participate in the Farmers’ Market Program. The specific requirements can be obtained by contacting the FNS at (623) 203-7401 or (503) 326-5971 ext. 26. Visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/fm.htm for more information.
There are three ways for a farmers’ market to process an EBT/scrip transaction:
- Wired point-of-sale (POS) equipment
- Wireless POS device
- Paper Manual Vouchers Wired POS Device
Standard wired POS equipment is provided by the state and is available to all California retailers authorized by the FNS to accept SNAP/CalFresh benefits. Wired POS equipment requires an electrical outlet and an analog telephone line.
Wireless POS Device
This is a mobile version of the standard wired POS equipment; it does not require a telephone line or an electrical outlet to process EBT transactions. If a farmers’ market does not have access to a telephone line or electrical outlet at the market, it may be issued a wireless device. Because a wireless device is more costly than a wired device, the deployment of a wireless POS device to a market must be approved by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). For more information, contact the CDSS Farmers’ Market Specialist at (916) 654-1396.
In lieu of POS equipment, markets can use manual vouchers. A manual voucher is a small paper form that is completed by the market and the EBT cardholder. It includes the food benefit transaction amount, the market’s name and FNS number, and the cardholder’s name and EBT card number. The voucher is signed by both the market and the cardholder. The market’s cashier calls a toll-free telephone number to verify the funds are available in the EBT cardholder’s account and is given an authorization number, which is then written on the voucher. A hold is placed on the EBT cardholder’s food benefit account for the amount of the transaction. Markets that do not have POS equipment have 15 calendar days to mail authorized vouchers to Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc. for reimbursement. Markets equipped with electronic POS equipment that use manual vouchers must clear each voucher on the POS equipment within 15 calendar days of the authorization.
For more information about participating in the Farmers’ Market Program, call the FNS at (623) 203-7401 or (503) 326-5971 ext. 26, or call the farmersí market specialist at the California Department of Social Services at (916) 654-1396.