NEW LEBANON, Ohio (WDTN) – Farmers in New Lebanon have made a big change, which is allowing more people access to their fresh produce.
Those who use SNAP Benefits, formally known as food stamps, typically can only use their EBT cards at designated super markets and stores.
But now, the Shiloh farmers market is opening their stands to a new form of payment.
The market has been in business for 15 years.
Back then, farmers were stepping up to fill a void.
And now they’re doing it again; Zella Cook and her husband are two farmers who’ve led this charge.
“I certainly see it as a social justice issue that, you know, why shouldn’t every one have access to the same good quality food and if we’re going to provide a means of financial assistance to people to get food why limit it to anything beyond what we could give them the best of everything, like we’re all entitled to,” said Cook, a retired teacher turned full-time marketing coordinator for her farm.
The market allows, shoppers to receive wooden coins for every SNAP dollar they wish to spend; farmers and vendors then accept those coins and receive a check at the end of the day.
Cook says the system is easy and encourages people to buy homegrown, healthy products.
“I think there’s a myth that if you’re buying local grown food, or if you’re going to farmer’s markets, or certainly if it’s grown without chemicals and things like that, you know, that it’s gonna cost a lot more and so once they come to the market, hopefully they’re going to find out well that wasn’t true,” she said.
And Cook assures that all customers find more than just great produce; fellow farmers say there’s a community presence with wisdom you won’t find at the super market.
“A lot of the times, we’re standing there, you know, I’ll have recipes or directions on how to cook beets or what do you do with kale,” said Cook.
Those recipes and other tips of advice are those that the Cooks hopes encourages everyone to get quality products for a quality price.
The new system also allows shoppers to use any major credit card.
The market is open on Saturdays from 8 to 1 at Shiloh Church on Main Street and Philadelphia Drive in Harrison Township.