Using EBT Cards at Farmers Markets
Katie Spoden, AmeriCorps VISTA Member — Extension Food Access Project, and Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor
July 2015; reviewed April 2017 by Laura Perdue, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition.
English | español
Spend $10, get $10! Use SNAP/EBT at farmers markets and get up to $10 in Market Bucks every time you visit the market.
Wondering how to use your EBT card at Minnesota farmers markets? This short guide answers your questions about everything from which farmers market accept EBT cards to what you can and cannot buy with your card. Read the guide online, starting below, or download a copy in print form: Using EBT Cards at Farmers Markets (PDF).
More and more Minnesota farmers markets accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits when you shop with your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
Check the website or Facebook page of your local farmers market to see if it accepts EBT cards. You can find lists of Minnesota farmers markets accepting EBT cards on the following websites:
- Find Your Local Farmers Market — University of Minnesota Extension
- Local Food Directories: National Farmers Market Directory — U.S. Department of Agriculture
How Do I Use EBT at a Farmers Market?
Infographic provided by 2015 EBT and Market Buck Initiative Materials
Step 1: Locate the EBT booth. Booths often have a sign that says “EBT/Credit/Debit Accepted Here.”
Step 2: The terminal manager will swipe your EBT card for the amount you want to spend. Enter your PIN. You will receive wooden tokens, or some other type of scrip, for the amount swiped.
Step 3: Use your scrip to purchase eligible items from any vendor that accepts EBT. Eligible vendors will display signs indicating they accept EBT in their booths.
How Do I Know How Much to Spend?
Option 1: “Window shop” at all of the vendors’ booths to create a list of the goods you want to purchase and their prices.
Option 2: Before shopping, determine an amount to spend at the market based on your budget.
- Because individuals are able to use both EBT and credit or debit cards at a farmers market, a market will issue two different types of scrip — one for EBT users and one for credit and debit card users; see the wooden token examples at right. Two types of scrip are necessary because EBT scrip can only be used for eligible items, and no change is given for EBT scrip.
- Please note that some farmers markets only accept “food benefit” not “cash benefit” from EBT cards.
What Can I Purchase at a Farmers Market with My EBT Card?
The following items can be purchased with an EBT card:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, fish, eggs and dairy products
- Honey and maple products
- Jams, jellies, pickles and sauces
- Baked goods
- Seeds and plants that produce food
What Can’t I Purchase at a Farmers Market with My EBT Card?
The following items cannot be purchased with an EBT card:
- Food items intended for immediate consumption at the market, such as coffee or prepared hot foods.
- Non-food items, such as crafts, clothes, or flowers.
- Produce that is intended for ornamental purposes only, such as gourds or carving pumpkins.
SNAP/EBT customers can double their purchasing power at participating farmers markets. Every $1 of SNAP/EBT benefits spent is matched by $1 in Market Bucks — up to $10 every time a customer visits the market! Hunger Solutions Minnesota administers the program and has fliers and brochures available on their website.
The Twin Cities Mobile Market — a grocery store on wheels that brings fresh produce, meat, and groceries to 33 locations throughout the Twin Cities — also accepts SNAP/EBT and offers Market Bucks. See when it will be in your neighborhood on the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation's Find a Mobile Market Stop Near You web page.
Questions or Comments?
Contact the SNAP-Ed Team for more information.
United States Department of Agriculture. (2015). EBT — Learn about SNAP benefits at farmers markets.
Hunger Solutions Minnesota. (2016). Market Bucks.
Seven Reasons to Shop at Minnesota Farmers Markets — Find out why shopping at farmers markets is beneficial to both individuals and Minnesota communities. English | español
SNAP and Farmers Markets — U.S. Department of Agriculture — Learn more about how EBT cards are used at farmers markets.
Market Bucks — Hunger Solutions Minnesota — This website provides information on its Market Bucks incentive program for EBT users shopping at farmers markets