Fresher food is likely to get to more Illinois dinner tables. Federal funds will help 41 more farmers’ markets in the state obtain and install wireless electronic card readers that will accept the Link card from people in the SNAP (food stamp) program. Markets in Alton, Edwardsville and East St. Louis are on the list locally.
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“Southern Illinois University is going to be studying the data that comes out of these expansions in farmers’ markets,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon in helping to announce the grants. “I think we’ll be able to use their data to evaluate just how much this means to the people who are receiving extra access to food and how much it means economically to farmers and to our state’s economy.” The electronic equipment has a technical name, but Simon says it’s easier to just call it a “swiping machine.” Each station would cost $1,200.