Suspension of SNAP Payments at Farmers Markets
Letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
August 2, 2018
It has recently come to my attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suspending their contract with NoVo Dia Group, the only USDA-authorized contractor utilized to facilitate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payment at neighborhood Farmers Markets. Due to the high rate of food insecurity throughout the nation, I worry this sudden decision will impact individuals in need of affordable, fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables which can be accessed at farmers markets. The loss of this app-based program serves as another hurdle for people already experiencing hardships.
As you know, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s mission is to assist food insecure families and individuals in an effort to reduce hunger. Due to the short notice to end NoVo Dia Group contract, without appropriate outreach to families, farmers and farmers markets, all who rely upon these services are negatively affected. My concern also stems from the fact that NoVo Dia Group provides convenient smartphone capabilities that allow SNAP beneficiaries and sellers to have easy access to commercial transactions that wouldn’t necessary be available without the smartphone capabilities.
In order to lessen the affect to Farmer’s Markets during these busy summer months, some vendors paid extra money for special equipment to service individuals with SNAP benefits. For those selling produce at farmers markets not able to afford the extra expense, the impact to their bottom line could be detrimental.
I urge you to rethink your decision in order to ensure that individuals and families that rely upon these services will not have to face additional hardship or food insecurity.