DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The Delray Beach GreenMarket is set to welcome people who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Starting this weekend, people can now use their EBT card to buy fresh and local produce.
People like Francis Kelly, who rely on SNAP, said it will be a big help.
"Yeah, you have to eat crap," Kelly said. "All you got around here is convenience stores, and you have to talk a walk. I'm not very good at walking," Kelly said.
According to the Center on Budget and Policies Priorities, in 2019, one in eight Florida residents relied on SNAP benefits.
That's why the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) decided it was time to make the Greenmarket a better resource for all Delray Beach residents.
"Maybe people don't know but certain areas of Delray Beach is a food desert where there's no access to fresh produce and food within a certain mile radius and this so happens to be that area," said Renee Jadusingh, the executive director of the CRA.
Starting Jan. 8, SNAP users will walk up to the SNAP tent during the Greenmarket, swipe their EBT card and they'll be given tokens which they can then use as cash to purchase healthy and locally grown food.
"I hope they find us as their new Saturday morning destination, you know, and they come and they purchase their fresh fruit and vegetables and their cheese and whatnot and go home with a really good experience," Lori Nolan, manager of the GreenMarket. "The market is a really friendly place to be on Saturday mornings."
The Greenmarket has been around for 26 years with over 56 vendors, all of which will benefit from a new diversity of customers.
"Everybody makes up a community, it's not all about one class of people," Kelly said. "That'd be boring."
Organizers said the idea stemmed after seeing a different green market in central Florida open to SNAP users, and now encourage other areas in Palm Beach County to join in on the movement.
"I don't think it's necessarily difficult. I think it's doing the leg work," Jadusingh said. "So, we applied last year. It took about six months or so but we got approved late last year, and we've been doing the steps to get everything in place."
The Winter Delray Beach GreenMarket is located at 20 N. Swinton Ave. and is open from October to May on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Visit the Delray Beach CRA website or call (561) 276-7511 for more information about the program.