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Low-income families flock to Arizona farmers markets

PHOENIX — Low-income families that qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as S.N.A.P., can get up to $650 a month for a family of four to help pay for groceries.

And many of them are spending that money at farmers markets in Arizona.

“We’ve had a 1,200 percent growth in sales over the past seven years at local farmers markets here in Maricopa County by folks using their food-assistance dollars to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for their families,” said Courtney Kreuzwiesner, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Health Department.

Kreuzwiesner said redemptions had grown in that period from $2,400 to $32,000.

Many of the markets accept EBT. Kreuzwiesner said that many people are being drawn to the markets because of a matching program from “Fresh Fund” program from the International Rescue Committee.

“What that means is that they can take their S.N.A.P. dollar allowance to a farmers market, and they can get a dollar-for-dollar match for their purchases for fruits and vegetables for up to $10,” Kreuzwiesner said.

There are 16 farmers markets in the Valley that accept S.N.A.P. and other food-assistance dollars.

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