Federal grant expands farmers markets to low-income residents

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By Meghann Myers

Farmers markets have become an easy way to find reasonably-priced fresh produce, but many only accept cash or checks - a big problem for low-income shoppers using food stamps. A federal grant, however, will help communities fix that problem.

A $4 million federal grant will go to states to help implement wireless technology to allow more farmers markets to accept food stamps and LINK cards. Markets need a wireless Internet or telephone landline connection in order to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer payments, which is not always available for outdoor markets in parks or parking lots. And small markets often can't afford to set up the technology.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced an expansion of farmers markets into the Austin neighborhood. Three area parks and two local churches will host markets this summer starting in June and through October. LINK cards will be accepted at those locations.

La Risa Lynch contributed to this report

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