CARBONDALE, Ill -- According to Lt. Governor Simon, the number of farmers' markets that accept Link, debit and credit cards could double.
Simon said on Tuesday that 41 farmers' markets across Illinois will receive $1200 grants from the Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project. Additional applications will be accepted on a first-come, first serve basis.
"We expect sales of local foods across Illinois, from urban gardens in Chicago to farms in Alexander County, to increase because of this program. Health benefits will follow," Simon said.
The program will enable farmers' markets to accept Link cards, which access federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. A total of 49 SNAP-certified farmer's' markets and direct-marketing farmers accepted Link cards in 2011.
The wireless EBT project could bring the total to 99 by this year's end.