“The addition of EBT accessibility is a positive way to welcome more community residents into the market," said Hill. The Market's North Loop neighborhood has been underserved by supermarkets, leaving residents without limited access to nutritious, locally grown fruits and vegetables. "We're pleased that the community can use EBT benefits for fresh produce," added Hill, “These consumers will have greater access to local and affordable healthy food options, resulting in positive health impacts.”
Planning for the EBT program began in 2009 in discussions with Minneapolis' Homegrown Initiative. The City is continuing its support. Beginning July 15, the City of Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support and Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Center for Prevention will provide a one-to-one match of up to $5 for the purchase of EBT-eligible items.
Of the 250 members of the Central Minnesota Vegetable Growers Association, which operate the Market, 93 have been trained. Hill expects this number to grow as the season progresses.