Farmers' markets to get wireless terminals

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A grant for new technology will make it possible for low-income families or participants in the food assistance programs to purchase fresh food from farmers' markets near their homes.

At least three Gwinnett farmers' markets -- Dacula, Lawrenceville and Norcross -- will be part of the Georgia Electronic Benefit Transfer Farmers' Market Program.

The Upper Ocmulgee River Resource Conservation and Development Council and other state councils have partnered with the Georgia Department of Human Resources to fund new, electronic terminals that will allow participating farmers' markets to accept EBT purchases. A $99,000 grant from the USDA Agriculture Marketing Services will be used to implement the program.

Market managers will be trained to use the terminals, and the partnership will provide technical, advertising and promotional assistance to local EBT farmer's markets.

According to the Upper Ocmulgee River RC&D Council, recent studies have found that a high number of childhood and adult obesity cases are found in low-income communities where few grocery stores sell fresh fruits and vegetables.

The terminals will allow participating farmers' markets to accept debit and credit card purchases if they wish.