Robeson County Farmers Market Accepts EBT and Debit Cards

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I hope everyone is enjoying some of the fresh, local produce at the Robeson County Farmers Market. The markets official hours of operation are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m., located at the corner of 8th and Elm Streets, downtown Lumberton. The list of current available items is extensive: bell pepper, hot pepper, blueberries, blackberries, boiled peanuts, cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, eggs, field peas, honey, okra, onions, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, sweet corn, and watermelon. The argument has been made many times on how fresh produce is a very healthy option to include in your diet. Hopefully, everyone also understands the growing importance of supporting our local food system. Local foods are not only fresher but greatly enhance our economy right here at home.

According to the United States Census website, 32 percent of Robeson County residents live below the poverty level. The reality is everyone may not have equal access to the healthy offerings found at the farmers market. The farmers market is always looking for ways to expand the customer base and attract new shoppers. The market is announcing some great news with the purchase of equipment to allow electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards at the market, as well as credit and debit card transactions. This new service will enable folks to shop at the farmers market who previously may not have had the extra cash.

Through collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, and MarketLink, funding has made it possible for markets and individual farmers to apply for the necessary equipment to tap into this customer base. MarketLink is a program through the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) that assists farmers and markets with accepting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) and electronic payments. Founded in 2013 in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, MarketLink has helped more than 3,000 farmers and markets accept electronic payments.

For more information, please contact Mack Johnson, Extension Horticultural Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at mack_johnson@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.