Farmers market managers, how would you like to attract new shoppers to your market, improve vendors’ sales, and increase food access in your community? Maryland Market Money (MMM), our statewide incentive program, is an amazing multitasking program that can help you achieve all three of these goals. The MMM application is open to Maryland farmers markets, large and small, urban and rural, and we hope that you’ll apply today!
How does MMM work?
MMM removes economic barriers for low-income shoppers to healthy foods, providing them with a dollar-for-dollar match (at most markets that is $5/day per shopper per market day) for purchases made using federal nutrition assistance benefits (such as SNAP/EBT, eWIC, and FMNP) at select farmers markets.
Okay, but will MMM really improve sales? I suspect that some of the vendors won’t want to participate.
MMM works, and the numbers speak for themselves: In 2019, MDFMA offered MMM at 35 Maryland farmers markets in 11 counties where 20,912 Marylanders spent $414,040 in federal nutrition benefits and MMM matching dollars thus far with 416 local agricultural producers.
And while a $5 match may not sound like much, it adds up. One farmer put it simply: “Maryland Market Money works for everybody. From our perspective, from the business point of view, it’s great because we sell more; from the consumer’s point of view, I think it’s great for them because they get more. So I think it’s win-win for everybody.”
Sounds good. But my market is understaffed and we really can’t take on additional work!
It’s true that participation in MMM requires administrative work for market staff (check out our page on Offering Maryland Market Money at Your Market to learn more). However, MDFMA is here to help, including in some cases offsetting the cost of additional paid staff and equipment. Don’t take our word for it. Carissa Ralbovsky, Greenbelt Farmers Market board member/ SNAP program coordinator, told us:
“MDFMA has really been a god-send to Greenbelt Farmers Market in 2019. Before joining the program, we had the infrastructure and budget to match just SNAP, but we couldn’t do other benefits. We are volunteer-run, and we just couldn’t do it. With MMM, we expanded the people we could serve with the additional matching. The numbers speak it for itself – we’ve doubled or tripled spending with benefits.”
If you have questions about how the program works or about applying, please reach out to Heather.