PORTLAND — A push is on get more Maine farmers’ markets to accept payments from low-income residents who use electronic benefit transfer cards.

Colleen Hanlon Smith, director of the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, says the organization could conceivably expand EBT acceptance this year to about 50 of the state’s 139 markets.

She tells the Portland Press Herald it’s a way to get locally grown, fresh, nutritious food onto the tables of people receiving federal food stamp aid.

From 2009 to 2013, the number of Maine farmers’ markets that accepted EBT cards grew from two to 27.

One barrier is the cost of the technology. Each market needs to buy a  wireless terminal to handle the cards that could cost  from $500 to $1,000. But a $4 million grant program could help offset the cost.


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