Marketlink is now registering farms for the SNAP online payment solution for direct marketing farmers. The press release can be viewed here.
For interested farmers, the first step is to complete MarketLink’s eligibility assessment at www.marketlink.org/apply. If your farm is eligible, the MarketLink team will guide you through becoming a SNAP Authorized Retailer and setting up GrownBy and WorldPay accounts.
Here is an outline of the process and additional contacts:
Complete the MarketLink eligibility assessment, here: https://marketlink.org/apply
If a farm is determined to be eligible, then they’ll be given instructions for becoming a SNAP Authorized Retailer (if they’re not already) and for creating a GrownBy account.
Once those steps are completed, MarketLink will submit the farm’s letter of inquiry to USDA to begin the certification process. USDA certification can be expected to take 1-2 months after the LOI is submitted.
MarketLink’s staff will also offer support with completing the certification process.
Mike Parker from GrownBy is happy to help farmers or organizations understand the process. Anyone can contact him at mike[a]farmgenerations.coop.
Certification will include the following steps listed below. All steps are free but come with varying degrees of paperwork that MarketLink will help guide you through.
Become a GrownBy member
Obtain a MarketLink number
Become an authorized SNAP retailer
Build a Worldpay account (please wait for MarketLink support)
Obtain online SNAP certification
Why is this important?
Federal spending on USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs totaled $182.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2021. As more customers purchase their groceries online, farmers who sell online can start accessing these spending dollars more easily. Farm customers can use SNAP to buy food, but right now its use is largely limited to in-person transactions. An online purchasing pilot via the USDA began during the pandemic and offered a grant to MarketLink who signed up partners including GrownBy for creating a direct marketing solution for individual farmers. This will allow SNAP users to order groceries & food online and pay for it online rather than present their card in person.
This is a very exciting development for farms across the country! If this sales channel suits your business, CAFF encourages farms to register for this program to show the USDA that there is a huge demand for having this online payment option for EBT customers.
GrownBy’s E-Commerce Food Justice tool was also the winner for the most innovative software for the 2023 Small Farm Innovation Challenge! The video below provides a summary of the tool and how it works.