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Friday, August 5, 2022

Food assistance spending at Illinois farmers markets soars

More access to locally grown produce means more food sold.

That was DeKalb Farmers Market manager Virginia Filicetti’s reasoning when she opted to allow people to buy vendors’ fruits and vegetables with federal food assistance. The market received authorization to do so under LINK — Illinois’ version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“The bulk of our customers at the market are LINK users, which is a huge incentive for the market and our vendors,” Filicetti told FarmWeek in a recent interview. “Vendors get LINK customers and customers get fresh vegetables and fruit from local farmers.”

The every-Thursday market is the only one in DeKalb County that accepts LINK dollars and matches those dollars through LINK Up Illinois. The matching program allows LINK card holders who spend $25 at farmers markets to receive a matching $25 that can be spent on market fruits and vegetables.

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