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Waltham farmers' market to accept credit cards, food stamps

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  June 28, 2011 03:48 PM

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Starting July 9, the Waltham Farmers' Market will accept credit cards, debit cards and food stamps from customers, according to market committee officials.

The market is investing in technology that will allow Electronic Benefit Transfer cardholders from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or food stamps on a debit card system) to pre-purchase tokens on site in $1 and $5 increments to use at the market.

“When you get the machinery, electronics, and service [for EBT cards], then at the same time you can also use credit cards on that machine,” market manager Leo Keightley said.

Vendors are not legally allowed to give monetary change from EBT tokens to EBT cardholders, but customers using their personal credit and debit cards can collect change from their tokens.

“This project is a significant chance to increase opportunities for people of all income levels to access fresh, nutritious local produce and food, and to support local farmers and other small businesses,” said market committee member Martha Creedon in prepared remarks. “One in eight Massachusetts households currently receives SNAP benefits to assist them in putting healthy food on their tables.”

Keightley said he has seen similar programs at farmers' markets in Cambridge, Somerville and Lexington.

All start-up and first-year costs for the program are funded by a grant from the Jones Partnership Fund of the First Parish Church in Waltham.

The market operates rain or shine every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through November 5. It is located at The Sovereign Bank parking lot at the intersection of Main and Moody Streets, opposite the Waltham Common.

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