The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Please Support Greater Funding for WIC, Seniors & SNAP EBT Use at Farmers' Markets, August 2021

Posted on August 02, 2021 at 02:51 PM

Please contact Members of Congress, Biden administration and other officials of both parties and urge them to support funding increases for WIC Farmers Market, seniors’ farmers market, and use of EBT for SNAP at farmers markets.

These are highly beneficial programs that increase access to fresh, nutritious, affordable produce for many lower income people and provide markets for fruit and vegetable producers. Like most programs these markets saw their activities reduced during the pandemic but with more people getting vaccinated, wearing masks and practicing social distancing they are poised for expansion.

It is particularly effective for you to contact by email or phone the US representatives or senators from your district and state, because they pay attention to their constituents.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP):

–served about 1.2 million WIC participants in FY 2020, 15,109 farmers, 2,461 farmers’ markets and 2,150 roadside stands

–Current appropriation level is $18.548 million, with goals for increases of at least $24 million this year

–FMNP has grown from small levels when it was created in 1992 to participation in 40 states and nine US territories or Indian Tribal Organizations, including seven of the eight Delta states Those eligible for WIC FMNP are women, infants over 4 months, children who are certified to receive WIC program benefits, or who are on a waiting list for WIC certification.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) use at farmers’ markets

SN–AP Participants spent $24.4 million in benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets in 2017, a strong upward trend by 35.2% increase over 2012.

–While the upward trend is a plus, many SNAP recipients do not know that farmers’ markets accept SNAP, so we need to contact Members of Congress, USDA and advocacy organizations like the national Farmers’ Market Coalition to advocate for broader information campaigns about Electronic Benefit Transfer access at farmers’ markets. Total spending by SNAP participants was $70 billion, so farmers’ markets’ use is still relatively small and has great room for growth.

–State government agencies negotiate contracts with payment processors to handle SNAP transactions. Contracts like these can have provisions for non-traditional businesses such as farmers’ markets with no-cost wireless SNAP processing equipment. If you or your organization would like to advocate for improvements in your state’s SNAP contract, contact the Farmers Market Coalition at

Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

–Served over 725,000 people in FY 2020, 14,767 farmers, 2,401 farmers’ markets, 2,316 roadside stands and 71 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs

–Funding level in F”Y 2020 is $19.38 million, with desired increases up to $24 million

–From its beginnings in the late 20th century as championed by the late, great Gus Schumacher and other nutrition and limited resource farmer advocates, today SFMNP operates in 45 states and 10 US territories and Indian Tribal Organizations

–Those eligible for SFMNP are low-income seniors, generally defined as being at least 60 years old and with household incomes not more than 185% of federal poverty income guidelines.

We welcome the promotion of Farmers’ Market Week. However, we need to be careful and accurate in our comments. In a mostly constructive special feature to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture wrote that “Farmers’ markets, long thought of as a niche affectation of suburban parking lots or roadside stands, truly came into their own over the past year.”

Actually, farmers’ markets have been gradually expanding for approximately the past 25 years, along with an improvement in public perceptions of these markets as constructive sources of nutrition, markers for farmers, and a positive social impact due to interactions in a public space.

Delta Caucus Executive Director Lee Powell served with the late Gus Schumacher and other farmers’ markets advocates at USDA during the 1990s, when we placed great emphasis on the WIC, seniors and SNAP EBT use at farmers’ markets. While there is still a lot of room for growth, we have come a long way since the 1990s in refuting the view that farmers’ markets are just a niche for a few farmers and customers.

WIC FMNP and other farmers’ market programs were founded in that era with bipartisan support.

We also did not find that all farmers’ markets “thrived” during the pandemic because they were outdoors. Our partners reported many markets experiencing lesser amounts of contact that were common among many activities during the height of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, an outdoor activity would likely not suffer as much as those that are indoors, so our markets did have a benefit in that sense to a limited degree.

There should be new customers introduced to farmers’ markets every year. A number of universities across the country conducted a survey finding that farmers’ markets had a 3% increase in first-time consumers, so that is another positive development.

We have invited a number of grassroots leaders involved in farmers’ markets, home gardens, farm-to-school and other local food systems initiatives for our Delta Regional Conference on Nov. 18-19, 2021 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The agenda will be sent out when we get closer to the time of the meeting.


OPENING SESSION: Thursday evening, Nov. 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Arkansas Capitol Rotunda.

FRIDAY, NOV. 19 SESSION: Friday morning and lunch, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library


You register by paying the $50 registration fees.

If you can get a group of four or more we will further reduce the registration fees to $30 each.

The easiest and fastest way to register and pay your $50 registration fees is to go on the website at and go to the PayPal link at the top of the site that says “Donate.”

If you prefer to pay by check, please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601


The group hotel is the Holiday Inn Presidential in Little Rock, Arkansas.

To get the low group rate of $99 for the night of Nov. 18, please call the hotel at 501-375-2100 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group.

Thanks–Delta Caucus (202) 360-6347 or by emai at