SNAP Bridge Cards
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) is the largest and most popular program at Michigan markets. SNAP is a federal program authorized by the USDA FNS office. As of April 2023, over 1.3 million Michigan residents, including over 550,000 children, received SNAP benefits at an average monthly amount of $170. This means over $235 million dollars are distributed in Michigan each and every month. SNAP benefits can be spent on eligible food items, including plants that produce food.
A majority of farmers markets operate under a central terminal model where the market is the retailer authorized to accept the SNAP benefits. The customer requests a certain dollar amount from their SNAP Bridge Card at the beginning of their shopping trip. The market distributes a specialized scrip, usually in wooden tokens in increments of $1, to the customer for the amount they have requested. The customer then spends the scrip/tokens on eligible products sold at the market. No cash back to the customer is allowed. At the end of the market day, vendors return the tokens to the market office to be reimbursed for the value of the tokens that were spent with them. While this is the most common setup at Michigan markets, it’s not the only option! If your market is interested in exploring other models the MIFMA team is available to help support that process.
MIFMA is also proud to facilitate a program for the State of Michigan to help provide no-cost wireless equipment to process SNAP Bridge Card transactions. Once you have been approved by FNS as a SNAP Retailer and receive your seven digit permit number, you can apply for this equipment here.