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Maryland Market Money Relaunched at 15 Farmers Markets in Six Counties

HUGHESVILLE, Md. - As funding for the Maryland Market Money (MMM) program has become available, the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, is relaunching this vital food access program at select markets.

Over the past three weeks, thanks to generous funding from the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Farms and Families Fund, the program has restarted at 15 markets in six counties. As more funding streams become available, new markets will be added to this list. MMM program administrators anticipate that 19 markets in seven counties will be participating by the end of 2020. It should be noted that in some cases, Maryland Market Money is contributing to funding for pre-existing incentive programs that may operate under a different name. 

Maryland Market Money is a statewide food incentive program previously run by the now-disbanded Maryland Farmers Market Association. As of June 2020, Maryland Market Money is run jointly by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, and the Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO). Maryland Market Money provides a dollar-for-dollar match for purchases made using federal nutrition benefits—SNAP/EBT, P-EBT, WIC & Senior FNMP, and eWIC-FVB—at select farmers markets. Maryland Market Money is a multi-tasking program that helps shoppers, farmers, and markets equally. It helps shoppers, by lowering economic barriers to healthy foods; farmers, by improving their economic viability; and markets, by increasing their customer base. 

Although one of the country's wealthiest states, 11.1% of Maryland residents are food insecure, while 6% of Maryland’s residents live in extreme poverty. With the pandemic's arrival, these numbers are growing dramatically, and now more than ever, Maryland Market Money’s food access work throughout Maryland is essential. As of March 2020, 594,828 Marylanders were receiving SNAP/EBT benefits and by July 2020, that number increased to 648,705, a 9% increase in just four months.

This October, USDA’s 5.3% cost of living increase to the maximum benefit amount of SNAP/EBT went into effect, which means that all Maryland SNAP/EBT recipients will see an increase in their benefits. By incentivizing SNAP/EBT spending at farmers markets, Maryland Market Money hopes to funnel some of these additional SNAP/EBT dollars to local farmers, thereby increasing their profitability and strengthening the local foodways. SMADC Director, Shelby Watson-Hampton, explained, "The Maryland Market Money program directly assists in alleviating food insecurity in Maryland by helping families afford fresh, nutritious, local food, while also helping farmers increase the sale of their products at the farmers markets.”

To find where to get Maryland Market Money in 2020 and a regularly updated list of participating markets, visit 'MMM Locations' on the Maryland Market Money website at marylandmarketmoney.org.

Find the complete list of MMM Markets HERE.

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