MIFMA Releases 2017 Annual Report Highlighting SNAP Bridge Card Use at Michigan Farmers Markets

Since its inception in 2006, the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) has maintained a focus on supporting farmers markets that accept food assistance benefits and promoting to food assistance recipients their ability to shop at farmers markets. The same year MIFMA began, only three Michigan farmers markets accepted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Each year since 2009, MIFMA has surveyed all Michigan farmers markets that accept SNAP benefits to document the ways in which farmers markets increase access in their communities to fresh, local, nutritious food.

In 2017, an electronic survey was distributed to 164 farmers markets that either reported to MIFMA that they accepted SNAP benefits and/or were listed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) as being a farmers market authorized to accept SNAP. The survey yielded 128 full or partial responses.

The number of farmers markets accepting SNAP grew tremendously between 2009 and 2014, with modest continued growth from 2015 to 2017. With more than 300 farmers markets in Michigan, MIFMA celebrates the success of having more than 52 percent of the state’s farmers markets accessible to SNAP clients, with 65 percent of Michigan’s counties hosting one or more markets that accept SNAP. At the same time, MIFMA aims for continual growth, working with additional markets to develop the capacity to accept SNAP benefits.

In 2017, 157 farmers markets in Michigan reported to MIFMA that they were authorized to accept SNAP benefits; seven markets were authorized to accept SNAP but reported no redemption. According to the FNS, in the 2017 federal fiscal year, 210 SNAP retailers were categorized as farmers markets. MIFMA and USDA FNS have unique lists because there are differences between their respective definitions of a farmers market and the organizations’ ability to ensure alignment with that definition prior to including a market on their list.

To read the full report, click below.

Bridging the Gap: Connecting Vulnerable Families with Local Food and Farmers

Thank you to all of the farmers markets that responded to this survey! Without your cooperation and support, this report would not be possible.