When people eat more healthful food – which they buy from local growers – everybody wins. That’s the thinking, anyway, behind a program to connect food stamp recipients and farmers’ markets.
Connie Spreen’s Experimental Station is a non-profit which, among other things, runs a farmers’ market on 61st Street in Chicago.
“We’ve been working with the lieutenant governor’s office, actively, and with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, to expand EBTs” into such markets, Spreen told the Illinois Rural Affairs Council, referring to the debit-card format food stamp benefits currently use. “In 2012, with the USDA EBT technology, we were able to expand that to another 22 markets.”
This program is called Link Up Illinois. Spreen points out it encourages poorer Illinoisans to develop healthier eating habits while it puts money into the pockets of the state’s farmers.