Published: Oct. 30, 2018
By: Trey Couvillion and Sarah Procopio, LSU Manship News Service
For Earlene Watts, walking to a farmers market with her 15-year-old son has become a weekend ritual. The LSU student and mother of four has visited the downtown Red Stick Farmers Market every week for seven years and counting, delighted that farmers there let her use state assistance to buy more nutritional food.
“We’re are able to shop for healthy items, and I am able to teach my kids how they can benefit from being healthy,” she said.
Watts is one of 1,300 people who use state food assistance to buy fresh produce and other products at farmers markets in Baton Rouge, thanks in part to grants that provide spending matches to increase their purchasing power.
But the program is far from universal: Only a few farmers markets in the state accept benefits from the Louisiana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as payment, and some do not provide a dollar-for-dollar matching component like the one where Watts shops.
Farmers markets in Lafayette, Covington, Lake Charles and Hammond do not take the benefits, formerly known as food stamps, while all the vendors at markets in Delcambre, Ruston, Baton Rouge and New Orleans do. Other markets, like in Shreveport and Mandeville, fall somewhere in between, with only some of the vendors accepting the state benefits.
Read more in KATC News.