Request for proposals

Grants for SNAP EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) Implementation at Montana Farmers Markets! With support from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will be expanding the three-year pilot project, the Farmers Market SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Project. The Farmers Market SNAP Project, formerly known as Food Stamps, is offering grants of up to $1250 to farmers markets within Montana interested in developing a SNAP benefits program at their market.

For more information regarding SNAP benefits at Farmers Markets, a new publication “Montana Farmers Market Electronic Benefits Transfer Manual: How to Accept SNAP Benefits at Your Farmers Market” is now available.

What’s in it for farmers market applicants?

  1. An opportunity to obtain a Point of Service (POS) device, also called a POS swipe machine, a wireless device for processing EBT and debit/credit cards, which can increase sales to all vendors at your market. Note: A wireless device is not a requirement to participate in this project.
  2. An opportunity to increase sales for farmer vendors, therefore increasing the economic viability of the market. Last year the five pilot markets in Montana totaled over $31,000 in SNAP purchases and over $53,000 in debit/credit purchases.
  3. Training and support from the project partners and the state of Montana Supplemental Nutrition Program.

Funds must be used for:

  • Purchasing and implementing a POS device at the market, wireless if possible, o Including the costs of installing, o Monthly charges (see estimated budget in attached information sheet), and/or, o Any training required to use the EBT machines (much of this will be provided by the state).
  • Advertising and promoting the EBT debut at farmers markets
  • Designating a market representative to administer the project
  • Participation in the evaluation of this project.

How to apply:
Complete the attached application and mail to Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) 432 N. Last Chance Gulch; Helena, MT 59601 or email to [email protected] Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m., May 7th, 2010.

For more information contact Kim Degner at AERO: (406) 443- 7272.
Note: This application can be downloaded at http://www.aeromt.org
Three grants of up to $1250 will be awarded. These grants will run the duration of 2010, June 2010 – December 2010.
How are grant decisions made?
A review committee will carefully consider all proposals. Final grant award decisions will be made by May 14th, and all applicants will be notified by May 21st .
The review committee will consider the following criteria when evaluating the proposals:
• Must be an established farmers market within the state of Montana.

• A representative from the farmers market must be willing to champion this project, preferably a market master or manager, for the duration of the project.

• Ability and willingness of market manager and vendors to participate in training sessions.

• An adequate number of agricultural vendors and an adequate percentage of vendors willing to participate in the project.

• Market sustainability.

• Size of the farmers market—customer base.

• Use of SNAP cards within the farmers market service area.

• Market season schedule.

• Market’s participation in WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

• Support from the local Public Assistance office.
The review committee reserves the right to decline any and all proposals that are not of sufficient merit.
If awarded the grant, what are the farmers market responsibilities to the Farmers Market EBT Project?
1. Farmers markets must document implementation of the EBT machine and document experiences by providing monthly oral reports, pictures and a written final report.
2. Project managers must complete two project surveys.

3. Keep records of EBT transactions. Project partners will provide the market managers with assistance and a template for tallying transactions. A final report will be required documenting how the grant funds were spent.
Project partners will provide support, training, and a liaison to help the farmers market recipients be successful in implementing this project. The project partners will work with the market masters to resolve any technical and logistical problems to ensure a smooth launch of the EBT process at the new project sites by September 2010.

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