Grow Your Own Food? You Can Do It With SNAP

That’s right, SNAP/EBT benefits can be used to purchase food-producing plants and seeds. That includes tomato starts, cilantro plants, pumpkin seeds; whatever you want to eat and have the green thumb to grow. If you’re new to gardening, ask your market farmer about low-maintenance crops or check out some resources on container gardening to start small. You can also call or email the Horticulture Hotline operated by Master Gardener Volunteers from Dane County UW-Extension at (608) 224-3721 or with questions as you get started and throughout the season. UW Extension also has some resources pertaining to container gardening available on their Learning Store website.

Fair warning, usually your SNAP benefits can only be spent this way at farmers’ markets or grocery stores that accept EBT– your local greenhouse or online seed company cannot be authorized to accept SNAP because they do not sell the required categories or allotments of “staple foods.” All the more reason to check out the available varieties at your local farmers’ market this spring! And hey, if you’re interested in helping to spread the word, the SNAP Gardens initiative provides free or low cost promotional materials you can post up at community gardens, farmers’ markets, or grocery stores. Happy planting!

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