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As inflation drives up grocery prices, Columbia Farmers Market offers alternative for those on state benefits


Columbia Farmers Market is hosting its second Wednesday evening market. The market offers local produce, dairy, meat, eggs and artisan products in addition to prepared meals from food trucks on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. But for those on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the Columbia Farmers Market also offers up to $60 in additional help.

The United States as a whole has been impacted by inflation. Many industries, including agriculture and food production, are impacted by the rising cost of fuel. The current cost per gallon in Missouri is an average of $4.53, according to AAA, which is below the national average of $4.95.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the price of groceries has increased 10.8% over the past year. This is the largest price increase for food in over 40 years.

When broken down by type of food, meat, poultry and fish have increased the most at 14.3%. Fruits and vegetables have increased by 7.8% and dairy products have increased by 9.1%.

In Missouri, a family has to make below the poverty line to qualify for SNAP. For a single person, that's a gross income of $16,751 a year. For a family of four, that's a gross income of $34,452 a year. The threshold is higher for people who are over 60-years-old or disabled. Qualifying Missourians can submit an application to the Department of Social Services online or through the mail and may have to be interviewed.

According to the Missouri Poverty Report, 13.2% of Missourians live below the poverty line or about 786,330 individuals.

The latest data from USDA shows 640,799 Missourians use SNAP as of February. Over $19 million in Pandemic EBT funds have been distributed in Missouri in fiscal year 2022 as of February.

Including the Columbia Farmers Market, there are 80 stores in Columbia where customers can use SNAP benefits.

Families using SNAP can register with the Columbia Farmers Market to receive tokens that can be used to purchase food. Recipients also get a match of $35 per market under the Access to Healthy Food program. This is an increase from the $25 match pre-pandemic.

Those with SNAP benefits can also apply for the Double Up Food Bucks to receive another $25 match. Combined, those eligible for both programs can receive up to $60 at every market.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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