$30K spent in food stamps at farmers markets, nearly doubling 2010 transactions

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    Nov. 22, 2011 10:56 a.m.

    The communal experience a person can get from buying at a farmers market is one of the main reasons America needs to redirect it's financial energy into localized and community based markets. Instead of allowing these fast food corporations to turn neighborhoods into food deserts, governments should follow this example and allow food stamps recipients to use their stamps at farmers markets. This is a great idea, and there is conversation going on at WhoWeAm dot com that adds to this concept.

  • Ann_Outsider OREM, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    I am surprised at how some posting here believe fresh produce at farmers' markets is the same as what's available in the supermarket. Most (thought admittedly not all) fresh produce at farmers' markets comes directly from the farm. Most (nearly all) "fresh" produce found in supermarkets are genetically modified, environmentally controlled, out of season or shipped from too far away (often other countries). While I agree the price of produce at farmers' markets is often higher than that in supermarkets, it's also higher quality.

    I applaud those using their food stamps to purchase healthy food from any source vs. the junk available everywhere.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 4:00 p.m.

    rogerdpack2 | 2:31 p.m. Oct. 31, 2011

    My experience was that the prices were the same, but in many cases better, then a store. Went this last saturday and bought food for 1/5 what a store would cost. Also the food is locally grown and harvested, so to me, it taste better, maybe because it is not picked early, like alot of food that stores buy from south america.
    Also saw several people who were selling produce from their own gardens.
    I like that the money I spend, goes to other utahns.

  • rogerdpack2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 2:31 p.m.

    isn't the farmer's market just the same food but overpriced? This is a better use of their money somehow?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    I can't believe how much the posters above Hate the poor, despise helping them, think they are all lazy and living the life of luxury.

    How Christian of you, not just your deeds but your thoughts are despicable.

  • NT Springville, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    I really wish government would get out of the business of buying votes, i mean the business of wealth redistribution, i mean the business of bailouts and welfare. Yup, that will never happen.

    My kids wonder why their friends get "free food" (government assistance) after having to move out of their million dollar PLUS home, while continuing to provide for their 2 large dogs, gassing up their 3 vehicles (2 luxury, 1 economy), etc, etc, etc

    That's all I'm going to say - until November :)

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    One of the last handouts I am against, are those handouts that give people food.
    The amount spent on the food stamp program, is nothing, when compared to other handouts and bailouts.
    there is almost no one in this country, who has not benefited from some kind of government handout.
    It amazes me after the trillions of dollars that has been spent to bailout wallstreet, billionaires, car companies. that some still want to put down, and scapegoat the poor. particuarly poor immigrants.
    its like complaining about the storage shed needing paint, when your house is burning down.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Oct. 31, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Unemployment is 10% and most on SNAP program have jobs. Housing costs too much. Medicine costs too much. Utilities are high.


  • Poqui Murray, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    We have a moral responsibility to provide for the poor. But shopping at a Farmer's Market, where produce is waaay over-priced does not make sense. The same produce can be purchased at a local supermarket for a fraction of what you'd pay in a Farmer's Market.

    Government needs to contract with local supermarkets to provide healthy food at less-than retail price for welfare recipients and totally cut out junk food and pre-packaged, prepared food from welfare benefits. Meat, fruit, veggies, dairy products, and grains should be provided for the needs of the poor. But junk food, sodas, frozen meals, ice cream, cookies, donuts, and others should not be provided. They are not "necessities" but luxuries.

  • Are You for Real? Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 11:00 p.m.

    For those who think I am harsh in my judgement...I once lost my job and ate from my food storage for months until I found a new job. Beans and rice, rice and beans. Throw in a little dehydrated onions and carrots for variety. Homemade bread and not much else. It sustained me and even more sustained my dignity to know that I could provide for myself even in my time of need. There was nothing extravegant about my situation. It also was a great motivator to find work.

    Again, we are making our "poor" too comfortable in their poverty and thus remove the incentive to go out and work.

  • Ann_Outsider OREM, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    My first job was working in a grocery store in the '80s. I remember people coming in with their paper food stamps. My heart broke for most of those people because I could see their shame. I also recall them buying items like rice, dried beans and canned fruit juices. Sure, there were some who purchased steak, shrimp, soda, etc., but they were not the norm. Perhaps I am (thankfully) too far removed, but I don't believe most people on food stamps eat more extravagantly than I.

    I applaud the creativity which allows for people to use food stamps at farmer's markets. While I honestly don't know about all of the tax implications as the earlier poster wrote, I am sure the revenue for the local farmers is useful in growing our local economy.

    For me, it's less about organic and more about eating in season and knowing where your food comes from. As we all learn this lesson our overall health will improve.

    I pray those who are so harsh toward the impoverished one day have the opportunity to walk in their shoes.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    Some of these comments from people who think the poor are just lazy don't realize how close they are to poverty themselves.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    I don't have a problem with horizon card use at farmer's markets. What I have a problem with is the lack of coordination with horizon card use and food pantries. These folks can use up their card allotment at the farmer's market, then go to the local food pantries and pick up food that our family has donated to them. Then, you add on the other charities helping those in so called need. Are we making poverty too easy for people? Why work?

  • Are You for Real? Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    In these pantries a recipient should be able to receive basic foods like whole grains, milk, vegetables, fruits that can be bought in bulk at discount costs and would sustain the life of those on assistance until they can find a job or get a better paying job should be the only items available to them.

    Benjamin Franklin said we shouldn't make people comfortable in their poverty and by allowing them to shop and pay for their items with relative ease we are encouraging more and more to stop working so hard when Uncle Sam can take care of them.

    I see welfare recipients eating much better than I do because I buy the cheapest products (mostly generic) to stretch the buying power of my paycheck. Something's not right here.

    We can still sustain the lives that need assistance but could be doing it so much more economically by pooling resources. Oh, and if you are on food stamps and don't like eating this way you have the power to fix this by getting out and working hard. Then you can buy your Double Stuffed Oreos and Mountain Dew with your own money.

    (Stepping down off my soapbox)

  • Are You for Real? Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    I think most of the items at the Farmer's Markets don't seem as fresh and cost more than what's at the local supermarket. (Maybe that's my skepticism of "organic" foods actually being better for you.)

    I don't understand why we make it easier every day for people receiving benefits. I know this sounds harsh but hear me out. Back in the day you had to use actual food stamps to make a purchase. Everyone in line knew their taxes were buying your junk food. There was a sense of shame involved motivating recipients to go find work, or a better job, to get off food stamps. Now we have these cards that look like everyone else's debit card. There's no shame and therefore no motivation to work harder (or start working.)

    I'd like to see the state pool its resources, buy basic food items that would sustain life and make these available to those seeking a handout in a manner similar to the Bishop's storehouse. No name brands, just the basics at bulk prices. Sure there are no sugary sodas or prepackaged, processed junk food but those are not what sustains life. Cont....

  • verlo Logan, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    They also want to make MY dollar go further

  • Timj South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    No one is getting $3,600/month in food stamps. In fact, I'm guessing most food stamps recipients are employed, and I'm sure most are either employed or very actively seeking employment.

    There are certainly some improvements that could be made to the program (restricting the amount of junk food families can get with food stamps, etc.), but it's a necessary program in these hard times, when unemployment is high and jobs are scarce. A single mother making $8 or $10/hour while providing for multiple children can't survive without outside assistance, especially if she has to buy her own health insurance.

    I'm glad to hear that food markets, a great source for fresh (and thus healthier) produce, is allowing food stamps. Bountiful Baskets should also get with the program.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 6:49 a.m.

    This is a great initiative!

  • MyChildrensKeeper Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    I don't see any benefit of food stamp use for business and communities in Utah. In-fact they can depress the economy in small cities and communities when more than half the residents are welfare dependents on tax exempt public paid incomes.

    Since food stamps and welfare are income like unemployment and gains taxes maybe its time to start taxing their use for cities who need the revenues during our economic upheaval. The state taxes unemployment as income so why not food stamps? The state taxes capital gains so why not food stamps? It's an unearned income like most retirements that is taxed so why not food stamps?

    Billions of tax dollars pass through the welfare department every year to professional welfare dependents and not one dime of tax is generated from people getting public income and financing. Welfare employee's along with other government workers should be added to the income and sales tax rolls.

    Please, no cries of pity, for many of those on food stamps and welfare are making up to $50,000 a year free income with $3,600/mo food stamps. Plus whatever other untraceable tax free income they can make working in Utah businesses.

  • CARL South Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    Food stamp recipients are looking for better quality foods than you see at supermarkets. They also wanted to make their food dollars go further.