Project: Foodstamps and Farmers’ Markets

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Help devise a system for using food stamps to buy better produce.

We all can agree that fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of good health. Yet access to fresh produce remains an enormous challenge. For people on food stamps, it’s an especially difficult one as there are few supermarkets in low income neighborhoods with sufficient offerings. Even thought more farmers’ markets are springing up across the country—and more than 750 farmers’ markets nationwide accept food stamps—other challenges remain.

Foodstamps, of course, are no longer physical stamps but “electronic benefit transfer” cards (or EBTs). This has helped remove the stigma for recipients of aid—and makes shopping at supermarkets easier—but has left farmers’ markets in a tough spot: without a battery-powered wireless card reader, food-stamp recipients can’t use their EBT cards. The lack of this simple machine is keeping people from buying fresh food. Many farmers are unable to afford the cost of the equipment (about $1,100 per reader) required to accept the debit cards; others feel the paperwork and record keeping is onerous.

Some (but not all) states have agreed to fund programs to facilitate the use of food stamps at farmers’ markets. Vendors can use hand-held devices, and in some cases cell phones, to process transactions. Other markets, like San Francisco’s Alemany Market, allow EBT card users to exchange their credit for market-specific tokens that can be used at individual booths, but the extra step required has resulted in a drop off in use of food stamps at farmers’ markets.

All of which begs the question: how can we make food stamps easier to use and to accept at farmers’ markets?

the OBJECTIVE
Make it easy to use and accept food stamps at farmers’ markets.

the ASSIGNMENT
Invent a low cost, easy to implement solution. Is it an app? Centralized check-out? Delivery? Something totally low tech? Barter? Trade? Let us know.

the REQUIREMENTS
Post a comment, tweet @GOOD, or e-mail projects[at]goodinc[dot]com with your solution to the problem of how to accept food stamps at farmers’ markets. Your response can take the form of a sentence, a paragraph, a sketch, an annotated photo—whatever you think will best convey your idea. Deadline is Monday, March 29. UPDATE: You can also submit ideas via our project page on ChallengePost.

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in FOOD DESIGN, FOOD SUSTAINABILITY, TECNOLOGY e contrassegnato come da FOODA . Aggiungi il permalink ai segnalibri.

Informazioni su FOODA

FOODA – Associazione per il Food Design – è un’organizzazione di progettisti, studiosi, comunicatori, aziende e istituzioni con fuoco sullo studio, la progettazione e l’innovazione degli Atti Alimentari. FOODA promuove la cultura progettuale degli Atti Alimentari assolvendola a elemento culturale, economico e ambientale di fondamentale importanza per la società contemporanea e futura, dando impulso all’innovazione di processo e di prodotto e potenziando le competenze degli operatori del settore. Obiettivo di FOODA è definire la disciplina del Food Design, il ruolo e le competenze del Food Designer; incrementare la consapevolezza, lo studio, la ricerca e l’interdisciplinarietà all’interno del paradigma degli Atti Alimentari promuovendo una corretta gestione e una progettazione sostenibile dei processi, dei prodotti e degli immaginari legati al cibo. FOODA intende perseguire i suoi obiettivi per mezzo di iniziative culturali, progetti di studio e ricerca autonomi e in cooperazione con enti e aziende, fornendo formazione e informazione professionale ai suoi soci, consulenza specializzata agli operatori del settore.

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