Friday, July 27, 2018

NYS Joins with Mobile App to Continue SNAP Use at Farmers Markets

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

New York state and the Farmers Market Federation of New York have reached an agreement with the mobile application vendor, Novo Dia Group, to enable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to continue to use their benefits at farmers' markets across the state through the rest of the farmers' market season. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging federal action on this issue.
"New York will not stand idly by as the federal government's ineptitude takes food out of the mouths of New Yorkers," Cuomo wrote to Perdue. 

"This is just another example of the Trump administration's continued assault on the nation's most needy," Cuomo said. "While the federal government doles out a contract to an untested company using outdated technology, we will continue to protect not only our most vulnerable residents, but our hard-working farmers."
Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the new contract that provides SNAP EBT equipment and services for farmers' markets to a company that does not support mobile, cellular-based transactions, denying hundreds of thousands of needy families the opportunity to purchase fresh, nutritious, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.  

With no replacement technology in place, and no foresight by the federal government to anticipate this situation, both farmers and SNAP beneficiaries would have suffered. 

The Novo Dia Group, which worked with the USDA to develop the cellular mobile technology that enables farmers' markets to accept SNAP benefit cards for purchases, had indicated that they were no longer able to continue in business due to the lack of continued support from the USDA.
In addition, USDA failed to notify impacted states of this problem. Immediately after learning of this egregious oversight, New York state began to work with the Farmers Market Federation of NY and other impacted states to formulate a solution.
New York State's short-term agreement with Novo Dia will provide uninterrupted access for SNAP recipients to continue to make purchases at farmers' markets, while also benefiting our local farmers during their busiest season.
"Losing access to SNAP through the Novo Dia Group would have been devastating to farmers' markets. Low income consumers would lose access to fresh, healthy and locally grown foods, while our state's farmers would have lost significant income that is critical to supporting our family farmers," said Diane Eggert, executive director.of the Farmers Market Federation of NY.

A record number of farmers markets in NYS now accept SNAP benefits.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018