Vendor in Braintree, MA Refuses To Sell Pies To People On Food Stamps

here are my  questions:

1. Did the market sit with their vendors and explain the plan to add benefit program shoppers and is there a rule in this market (as there is in some markets) that all vendors must take the tokens (that have products that are able to be purchased with food stamps by law)?

2. . What if a vegetable farmer refused to take SNAP simply because of their own beliefs? How would a market handle that?

 

I’d love to hear some thoughts from markets and market vendors.

Vendor in Braintree, MA Refuses To Sell Pies To People On Food Stamps.

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5 Comments

  1. Darlene: I read some newspaper articles last year that indicated the Braintree market wanted to have a uniform acceptance policy but was being patient while they tried to reason with this pie vendor, which I see has been fruitless. The problem from my vantage point is that she’s tightly connected with a politician who was trying to use the issue to score points with voters who hate SNAP.

    My markets state an expectation that our SNAP tokens will be accepted for all eligible product. It’s hard enough to make shoppers feel welcome without one vendor vilifying SNAP shoppers in the media. If one of my vendors wanted to play politics with SNAP, I’d say they’d be happier in another market.

    Is this vendor going to throw her body in front of the freezer case at every grocery store in Mass. to make sure no one spends SNAP on Mrs. Smiths or Sara Lee? No, and she’d argue that she does not own those brands.

    The SNAP program is not structured to make these cost/value distinctions. (We all have mixed emotions about soda and Little Debbie cakes.) WIC, unfortunately, is completely susceptible to top down cost analysis. So you get states saying no organic milk, and you can only buy the most boring cheese.

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    • Certainly a back story that I expected to find. Thanks for sharing Rebecca. I agree with your assessment of policing fruits and veg; it has long been my contention that all goods at my markets were healthy in moderation: that a small turnover is a lovely treat when made with fresh blueberries and will sate the palate much better than a giant “honeybun” sitting under a giant heater near a register for months and that when the engagement with growers and the care and pride with goods is absorbed by shoppers at market, they slowly change their behavior.

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  2. And I agree with your assessment that this vendor would be happier elsewhere. Clearly, we view markets as mechanisms for social good and therefore will always work to expand their reach, and this vendor would be most uncomfortable with that it seems.

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