Vermont Farmers' Market Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) & Debit Card Project

Providing technical & financial assistance to farmers’ markets statewide for use of wireless card machines to buy local fresh food. 

EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) Cards are debit cards bearing the value of food or cash in federal program benefits. They have taken the place of paper food stamps, generating a necessity for businesses to have a greater technological capacity to accept food stamps.

The use of EBT cards benefits both the consumer and the supplier; those with lower incomes are able to purchase from local markets and the customer base at the markets expands. With a cardservice machine a farmers’ market has the opportunity to accept debit cards, further increasing the overall sales as customers can spend a greater amount than their cash on hand. 

The expected result of EBT and Debit used at Vermont’s farmers’ markets is a growth of local economy and an option for low-income individuals and families to shop with their neighboring farmers rather than national retail chains. 

The George D. Aiken and Northern Vermont RC&D Councils supported this project through a monetary donation to purchase a card service machine and serve on the EBT steering committee.