On Tuesday, April 28th, at the office of California Senator, Dr. Richard Pan, produce stand owners will have the opportunity to get the proper authorization to accept EBT cards at their stands, essentially bypassing the usual 45 to 60 day waiting period.
The event is a onetime only occurrence, made possible by the San Francisco branch of the United States Department of Agriculture, who heard from Sacramento representatives the city’s predicament. With the passing of the recent urban ag ordinance locals now have the ability to sell homegrown fruits and vegetables to other members of the community.
An issue arose when officials realized that a significant percentage of the population who was hoping to benefit from the ordinance can’t due to financial restrictions. According to Statistical Atlas, over 12 percent of Sacramento residents are on food stamps. Those same people are often a part of Sacramento’s obese population as well.
The link between low income and weight gain has been widely documented. In a recent study involving more than 6000 adults, the Food Research and Action Center found that “those with low wages had increased BMI as well as an increased chance of being obese.”
Kids born into low income families run the same risk of growing up overweight. Almost 40 percent of Sacramento’s kids are overweight, 12 percent higher than the state average.
“The solution: increase access to healthy produce in the neighborhoods where folks need it most,” said Amber Stott, Founding Executive Director at the Sacramento Food Literacy Center. “When produce is picked and eaten at its ripest, families are more likely to fall in love with the flavors. When it’s also easy to access right in your neighborhood, it is more likely to become the first-choice foods that families grab to eat.”
Allowing farm stands to accept EBT cards will provide new healthy food options for people who don’t have a lot to choose from. “Secondly, many farmers benefit when EBT payment is an option–sometimes as much as one-third of their sales in farmers markets can come from EBT,” said Stott
The event will run from 9 am to 2 pm in the Obama room of the South Sac District office. Anyone needing to sign up is encouraged to attend.