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   Sales Using Food Stamps Double At Greenmarkets
by Jennifer Lee, The New York Times
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 11:24AM EST

Food stamp purchases at the city’s Greenmarkets have more than doubled in the last year, due in large part to publicity campaigns and the addition of more farmers’ markets to the program.

Food stamp sales from July to November, when the stamps are valid at the markets, doubled to $226,469 in 2009 from $100,772 in 2008, according to numbers released by the City Council on Sunday. While that is but a small fraction of the $200 million that New York’s surging food stamp population receives in benefits each month, it can represent a significant portion of business for farmers. In some low-income neighborhoods, food stamps can make up 70 percent to 80 percent of sales at the markets, according to the report. The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, said, “I would like the goal over my next term to get it to $1 million per year.”

The program now runs in 23 markets, but two alone accounted for more than a third of the total sales. Poe Park Market in the South Bronx accounted for more than $50,000 of the sales, and a market in Washington Heights, at 175th Street and Broadway, represented more than $40,000. Ms. Quinn noted that the Poe Park Market is in a community that severely lacks supermarkets and grocery stores, while the Washington Heights market features Dominican farmers who sell produce that is commonly used in Dominican cooking, attracting a lot of neighborhood residents.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: The New York Times


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