To convert electronic FoodShare dollars to paper money, the DCFM has a point-of-sale machine to process electronic bank transfers (EBT). For the Saturday market on the Capitol Square, processing is located at the DCFM information booth at the Outdoor Saturday market and both winter markets. EBT services are also available at the market information booth at the Wednesday market on Martin Luther King Blvd. Patrons swipe their FoodShare card, choose the amount they’d like to spend at the market and receive DCFM’s unique scrip, which can be exchanged with DCFM market vendors for food purchases.
The scrip can only be used at the DCFM and does not expire. Unused script can be returned with the value credited to the participant’s account. Funds from the scrip go directly to DCFM food producers. All DCFM producers participate in the program.
For the 2012 market, DCFM formed a new partnership with Community Action Coalition to handle the market’s ever-increasing FoodShare redemptions. In order to access DCFM’s FoodShare system, see the information table on market day.
Madison farmers’ markets processed more FoodShare dollars (previously called food stamps) in 2011 than since the ’90s, when the government food assistance program started using electronic bank transfer (EBT) cards.
At $49,234, last year Dane County Farmers’ Market (DCFM) customers spent the most federal food assistance dollars of any market in Wisconsin. The Fondy Farmers’ Market of Milwaukee came in second, at just over $30,000 for the year.
This is the most FoodShare dollars to be redeemed at farmers’ markets since the state abandoned traditional “food stamps” and went paperless in the 1990s. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) initiated the change from paper stamps to EBT cards in 1993 and by 2002, all 50 states switched to the plastic payment form.
–Contributed by Emily Eggleston