What is SNAP?

Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Individuals and Households

“SNAP” stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called “Food Stamps.”  SNAP is a federal program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in collaboration with state agencies of Social Services or Children and Family Services.  The federal government funds the program and sets eligibility requirements; states administer the program.

The purpose of SNAP is to supplement the income of low- and no-income families and individuals so that they can better afford nutritious foods.  According to FNS, “SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families . . . SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net.”

Source: USDA FNS

Each state agency is responsible for administering their SNAP benefits program which includes approving SNAP applications, issuing SNAP EBT cards, and transferring monthly federal SNAP benefits to SNAP participants’ accounts.  Under Federal law, states create their own names for their SNAP programs.  For example, in California, SNAP is referred to as“CalFresh.” In Vermont, it is referred to as “3SquaresVT.”  Thus, “SNAP” might not appear in your state program’s name or on their “branded” EBT Card.   To identify and contact your state’s SNAP program name and Coordinator, click here.

Why Accept SNAP?

Nationwide, farmers markets and direct-marketing farmers/vendors are accepting SNAP benefits for an array of reasons. To learn more, visit Farmers Market Coalition’s resource, SNAP Guide for Farmers Markets.

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