EAST LANSING, MI – The Michigan Farmers Markets Association (MIFMA) is hosting the Michigan Farmers Market Conference on March 7 and 8, 2017 on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Register now at www.mifma.org.
The 2017 conference will feature a unique opportunity for farmers market managers and direct marketing farmers to learn more about accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, distributed via the Michigan EBT Bridge Card, and take the first step toward being able to accept these benefits in exchange for fresh, locally grown products.
In partnership with the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), MIFMA is offering application assistance and on-site sign-up at the conference on Tuesday, March 7 and Wednesday, March 8. Sign up is available in half-hour time slots throughout both of the conference days. Interested individuals are asked to register for a preferred time slot by calling 517-432-3381.
“Michigan’s farmers are instrumental in providing fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods throughout the State”, said Tim English, Regional Administrator for USDA Food and Nutrition Service. “ We encourage direct marketing farmers and farmers markets who are not currently participating in the SNAP Program to attend this special sign-up event. The ability to accept SNAP benefits helps farmers expand their customer base and economically support their local community.”
Attendees will receive step-by-step instructions for completing the USDA FNS online application to accept SNAP benefits and USDA FNS staff will be on-site to review applications and approve them.
“MIFMA believes all Michigan residents should have access to the fresh, nutritious, local food available at farmers markets,” explains MIFMA Program Director, Amanda Shreve. “Accepting SNAP benefits is one important way that farmers markets and direct marketing farmers can ensure that their products are accessible to a broad customer base and that’s why we are proud to be hosting this sign-up opportunity, in addition to the other training and technical assistance programs we offer farmers market managers across the state.”
In addition, the Michigan Farmers Market Conference will also feature three educational tracks with 15 different break-out sessions, roundtable discussions, exhibitors, a panel of keynote speakers, MIFMA’s annual meeting, and a conference social event. Conference registration closes Monday, February 27, 2017. To register for the conference or for more information on other programs and MIFMA membership opportunities, visit www.mifma.org/conference or call 517-432-3381.