Wednesday August 08, 2012 | 09:39 AM

Last year the Portland Farmers Market began a popular program to allow people with food stamps, debit cards and credit cards to shop at the market. At a staffed information booth, people can transfer these electronic payments into wooden tokens that are accepted by market vendors just like cash. At the end of this month, the grant funding for the program will run out. In an effort to keep it afloat, the market has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise the money needed to staff the booth and issue the tokens for another year.

In the first year, people with food stamps (officially known as SNAP benefits) spent $50,000 on fresh, locally-grown food at the Portland Farmers Market. Food stamp recipients benefited from high quality food and farmers benefited from increased sales.

While the program has been a success, it needs additional cash in order to continue. The program was started with support from Healthy Portland and Cultivating Community with the start-up funding coming from a federal anti-obesity grant. Using the Indiegogo site, the farmers hope to raise $12,000 through small, individual contributions.

To support the campaign visit and pledge as little as $10 or as much as $1,000. Donors will receive thank you gifts ranging from a bumper sticker to a day on the Alewive's Brook Farm lobster boat. The campaign runs through Sept. 7.

About the Author

Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.

Meredith can be contacted at 791-6332 or
On Twitter: @meredithgoad

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