LINK Card Use Up At Illinois Farmers’ Markets

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Low-income shoppers are taking advantage of opportunities to buy healthy food, by using their LINK cards at farmers’ markets.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said in a news release Monday that the amount of LINK card food stamp benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets rose from $11,146 to $41,146, an increase of 269 percent, from 2009 to 2010.

Access to farmers’ markets for LINK Card users was improved last year, with 35 markets receiving authorization to accept the benefits, Simon said in the news release.

Statewide, 49 farmers’ markets now accept LINK cards.

“We are seeing a promising trend: more farmers markets accepting LINK and more food stamp benefits being used to buy locally produced, fresh food,” Simon said in the release. “But with over 300 farmers markets and direct marketing farmers in Illinois, there is room to thrive. I am committed to helping expand LINK usage at farmers markets to improve the health and economy of our state.”

  • JeBuS

    Look at this another way:

    Local welfare being used to pay local farmers. As opposed to say, local welfare being used to pay WalMart for cheap processed foods shipped in from China, or somewhere else.

  • Kendra

    My husband works at a Department of Human Services office and I can tell you that the “typical clients” are that typical anymore. There are many who receive LINK benefits who had high paying jobs, but are currently out of work. There are those who receive it because they are working at jobs that are minimum wage or just above it. I know many believe the LINK card assistance is only for those who have NO income, that is so untrue. You can qualify for LINK assistance and be working. There are income guidelines and as long as the household doesn’t make above that amount, the household could qualify for some assistance.

    Jobs are very scarce right now and people are lucky to have one job to help their families. For those that have 2, that is great, but some people need LINK assistance due to the crumbling economy. The clients on LINK card assistance are not “who” they used to be.

    I agree with JeBuS, going to the Farmers Market is helping local farmers and is better health-wise then the processed stuff at Aldi’s and Walmart. Just because a person is low income because of the economy, does not mean they should be restricted to shopping at certain stores!

  • EatWell

    My guess is that those who are frequenting the farmer’s markets are not those that have been indoctrinated into generational welfare. Twinkies, soda pop and Dorito’s most likely wasn’t the diet prior to their misfortune nor will it be during and after.

  • NWA

    Yeap, this is the new norm. The Brookings Institute produced several reports over the last few years describing the issue. The latest report talked of how people, who had never experienced persistent unemployed, didn’t know about other type of assistant nor, how to access information to those programs.


  • NWA

    Whatever… As long as you refill my Link Card every month I’m good. Now if you will excuse me, I have a long exhausting day of sitting on my front porch doing nothing.


  • Right

    The overwhelming majority are black and don’t deserve the benefits.

  • Cady

    Thought it woudln’t to give it a shot. I was right.

  • wqunzco

    13E02x pfcjzgcqrche

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