Modernizing SNAP Transactions with Local Farmers

This article was published by Katrina Johnston, Public Affairs Specialist, Food and Nutrition Service on behalf of USDA on August 10, 2023

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to about 42 million Americans in need each month. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) ensures that benefits are as convenient and easy to use as possible, however, historically there have been challenges when it comes to connecting participants with local farmers. Fortunately, modern technologies and innovative solutions have emerged to bridge this gap. By embracing online purchasing and mobile payment systems, FNS is creating a more efficient, inclusive, and mutually beneficial relationship between SNAP participants and farmers.

Thanks to a partnership between USDA and the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP), direct marketing farmers are now able to accept SNAP payment online. The first direct marketing farmer enabled to accept SNAP online is River Queen Greens, a vegetable farm in New Orleans, Louisiana. SNAP online payments increase accessibility for River Queen Greens customers. “Having the capability for SNAP online payments makes the purchasing process much more seamless,” said co-owner Annie Moore.

Until recently, accepting SNAP payment online was an option primarily available for traditional brick and mortar retailers. As a result of the partnership with NAFMNP, SNAP participants can now purchase produce online from participating local farmers for pick-up or delivery. NAFMNP MarketLink’s Online SNAP solution will help small farmers attract new SNAP customers while providing SNAP participants with better access to fresh, locally grown produce. A win-win for all parties involved!

Thousands of direct marketing farmers apply for SNAP authorization each year. As part of our ongoing support for these farmers, USDA recently opened the competition for the Mobile Application Cooperative Agreement for SNAP Farmers and Markets. Through this grant, up to $4 million in funding will be provided to up to two grantees over a three-year period. The grantees will provide technical assistance to direct marketing farmers selling at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, or pick-your-own operations, who wish to become SNAP authorized and enable them to use their mobile phone to conduct transactions. As with past grants, farmers marketing directly to consumers would continue to be provided with a mobile app and a card reader to accept SNAP payments using their mobile phone. The current grant competition is open for applications between July 6-September 5, 2023.

USDA is also helping SNAP participants access more healthy foods from local producers. The SNAP Healthy Incentives Programs encourage healthier eating by incentivizing the purchase of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy foods at participating retailers, including at farmers’ markets. To find out how your local farmers market can participate in an incentive program, you may visit the SNAP Healthy Incentives page.

For more information about the SNAP Online Purchasing program and the full list of retailers approved to provide SNAP online purchasing, visit theSNAP Online webpage. USDA also recommends visiting your local retailer’s website to find out whether grocery delivery is available for your location.

Press Release: Marketlink Offers SNAP Online Payment Solution for Direct Marketing Farmers

Photo credit: River Queen Greens

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – June 13, 2023 – The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) now offers Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Online acceptance for direct market farmers (DMFs) through their MarketLink program. The MarketLink team has been working with GrownBy and Worldpay from FIS to develop a secure PIN-based platform that allows direct marketing farmers to accept SNAP transactions online. Access to SNAP online payments is part of NAFMNP’s commitment to developing innovative solutions that work for farmers, markets, and Federal Nutrition Programs participants.

The first direct marketing farm authorized to accept SNAP Online is River Queen Greens, a vegetable farm in New Orleans, Louisiana. “Our farm brings sustainably grown food into New Orleans kitchens, and we’re excited to offer SNAP Online as a way to increase our diverse community’s access to healthy, local produce,” says River Queen Greens owner, Annie Moore.

In an ongoing survey conducted since May 2022 to measure interest in the SNAP Online rollout, 49% of completed responses identified as direct-marketing farmers.1 “The high level of interest from direct marketing farmers strengthens our motivation to make the online solution as simple and accessible to farmers as our current SNAP equipment program,” stated NAFMNP Executive Director, Phil Blalock. MarketLink has completed testing with the GrownBy platform and is establishing procedures that support SNAP authorized direct marketing farmers with the following services:

● USDA-FNS authorization assistance to become SNAP Online ready;
● Access to the GrownBy eCommerce platform and WorldPay from FIS PIN service at no cost for one year;
● Technical and training support;
● On-going communication, platform maintenance, and security updates.

MarketLink’s SNAP Online solution will help small farmers attract new SNAP customers while ensuring an inclusive experience for SNAP beneficiaries. For interested farmers, the first step is to become a SNAP authorized retailer. Then the MarketLink team can guide you through the additional steps to become SNAP Online authorized as well as set up your GrownBy and WorldPay by FIS accounts. Start today by submitting your application at

Check out the full press release here.