Joining a CSA with SNAP Benefits Is Now Easier Than Ever
Some people swear by CSAs. Who wouldn’t want to be forced to figure out a way to use eight zucchinis every week? Alright, maybe CSAs aren’t ideal for lazy, always-dine-out kind of guys like me. However, two things are for sure: They’re healthy and they’re good for farmers – two things you’d think the federal government would want to support.
As Modern Farmer reports, a recent change in the Farm Bill does exactly that. Previously, if people on SNAP—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program often referend to as “food stamps”—wanted to join a CSA, they had to pay weekly, which isn’t typically how CSAs work. Part of the benefit of a CSA to farmers is that they get the money for the entire season up front. And processing payments weekly is more time-intensive. But with these new changes, SNAP benefits can be used to join a CSA the same way any other member would: at the start of the season.
The change is potentially good for both SNAP users and farmers. As Modern Farmer points out, the government spends about $74 billion on the food stamp program, meaning changes to the way SNAP works for CSAs is a potential boon for smaller local farmers. But at its heart, the point of the program is to help people eat. The rule change helps them, too. “Everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy food, regardless of their income level,” said Bryan Allan of Zenger Farm, who helped advocate for the new rules. Even if that healthy food is way too many zucchinis. Hopefully some of the people using SNAP are more creative in the kitchen than I am.