SNAP beneficiaries will not have to fear losing the ability to pay with EBT at farmers markets, through the rest of the growing season at least. Governor Cuomo announced today that New York State and the Farmers Market Federation of New York will continue to support Novo Dia Group, the company that makes the app Mobile Market Plus.
This app processes 40 percent of SNAP transactions at farmers markets throughout the country, including all transactions across the NYC Greenmarket system. In mid-July, Novo Dia announced that they were shutting down at the end of the month, in part because they were unable to work with a new company that had taken over the USDA contract to administer SNAP benefits to farmers markets. But last week, the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP), which represents 45,000 farmers and 8,000 farmers markets across the country, announced that they were providing funds to keep the Novo Dia Group operational for the next 30 days. Now the state has stepped in, partnering with the Farmers Market Federation of NY, and they will keep the company operational through the end of January.
"Losing access to SNAP through the Novo Dia Group would have been devastating to farmers' markets. Low income consumers would lose access to fresh, healthy and locally grown foods, while our state's farmers would have lost significant income that is critical to supporting our family farmers. We applaud Governor Cuomo's quick action in shoring up Novo Dia Group for the remainder of the market season and making it possible for SNAP to be used at farmers' markets," said Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Federation of NY in the press release.
Since Mobile Market Plus operates across the country, the farmers markets that uses it to process SNAP benefits won't have a lapse in service, at least for 6 months. In the meantime, the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will be looking into a permanent solution.
Last year, New York processed $3.4 million in SNAP benefits at farmers markets across the state. GrowNYC, which operates the city's Greenmarkets, processed $1.1 million in SNAP sales and $400,000 in Health Bucks sales in 2017.