The Spenard Farmers Market now accepts "Quest" cards, also known as food stamps. The market is proud to be a leader in expanding access to local, fresh foods. Food assistance recipients can use their Quest card to buy numerous qualified products from fresh local vegetables and seafood, to jams, cheese, and breads. A Quest cardholder would simply visit the Information Booth at the market to swipe their card in exchange for wooden tokens. The wooden tokens can be redeemed at vendors' booths with qualified products. This food stamp pilot program was sponsored by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
|A PowerPoint presentation created by Andrea Trent, SFM 2012 Intern|
Organizers of the Spenard Farmer’s Market knew it was important to expand the emerging farmers markets and make available to residents throughout the Anchorage area as much Alaska grown foods as possible. The next step in the growth of the Spenard Farmer’s Market was to offer these locally grown foods to Alaskans utilizing food assistance benefits. The Alaska Division of Public Health is pilot testing a project to help farmer’s markets accept Food Stamp Quest cards (or SNAP –supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
Quest card holders simply come to the Information Booth to redeem funds on their Quest card for tokens to purchase healthy, local foods. Farmers can redeem these tokens for cash immediately, reducing the administrative disadvantages associated with participating in other food assistance programs like WIC and Senior Coupons.To further help simplify and define the food assistance programs that are supported and operated by the State of Alaska, Kim Wetzel, volunteer Food Assistance Chair for the Spenard Farmers Market coordinated the production of the “Spenard Farmers Market Food Assistance Vendor Handbook 2011” with Leadership Anchorage 14 Group members Jeanne Larsen, Alissa Nagel, Leslie Need, Jana Turvey and Rob Walker. This free, 20+ page handbook is available to all Spenard Farmer’s Market vendors.