Illinois Farmers Markets Using EBT: Impacts on SNAP Redemption and Market Sales

  • Afroza Hasin Southern Illinois University
  • Sylvia Smith Southern Illinois University
  • Pat Stieren Southern Illinois University
Keywords: Access to Healthy Food, Electronic Benefit Transfer, EBT, Farmers Market, SNAP

Abstract

The number of people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is currently at an all-time high. The switch from food stamp coupons to the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system was completed nationwide in 2004, yet almost 75% of the nation's farmers markets are not equipped to accept EBT. The state of Illinois has the sixth largest number of farmers markets in the U.S. and only 24% of its farmers markets accept EBT. The objective of this study is to identify variables important to facilitate successful EBT transactions at Illinois farmers markets. A survey was administered electronically to all Illinois farmers market managers who reported using EBT in 2011 in this cross-sectional study. Twenty-four markets participated and completed the survey. The main outcome measure was EBT sales at farmers markets in 2011. We used linear regression analysis to examine effects of selected market characteristics and management variables on EBT sales. We also performed a paired sample t-test to compare the sales of 2010 and 2011 and did correlation analysis to explore relationships between EBT and total credit and debit sales. SNAP redemptions increased significantly in Illinois farmers markets using EBT. Use of incentives, receipts or direct swipes, and volunteers handling EBT transactions had significant positive effects on EBT sales. Total credit and debit sales and the number of EBT transactions were found to be positively correlated. We conclude that having EBT service increases SNAP redemption at farmers markets, and that obtaining funds for incentive programs and using "receipts" method over tokens or scripts in processing EBT transactions should be areas to prioritize in adopting EBT at farmers markets.

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Author Biographies

Afroza Hasin, Southern Illinois University
Instructor, Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; 875 South Normal Avenue, Mail Code 4317; Carbondale, Illinois 62901 USA; +1-618-453-5193.
Sylvia Smith, Southern Illinois University
Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois.
Pat Stieren, Southern Illinois University
Executive Director, Illinois Farmers Market Association, Springfield, Illinois.
Published
2014-12-19
How to Cite
Hasin, A., Smith, S., & Stieren, P. (2014). Illinois Farmers Markets Using EBT: Impacts on SNAP Redemption and Market Sales. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 5(1), 179-188. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2014.051.015
Section
Open Call Papers