Rebbie on Making Farmers Markets More Accessible (By Danny Harris)


Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer, DJ, and collector of stories. In September, he launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. Every day, People’s District presents a different Washingtonian sharing his or her insights on everything from Go Go music to homelessness to fashion to politics. You can read his previous columns here.

“Food stamps used to be physical stamps that people would use in supermarkets or farmers markets. A number of years ago, the government switched to an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) swipe card. While it seemed like a great idea, it largely removed farmers markets as an option for lower income people because the farmers markets did not have access to wireless terminals. In places like California, the government went out and bought wireless terminals for every single farmers market. That didn’t happen in DC. Because of that, a whole generation of food stamp recipients here doesn’t know that they can access farmers markets. When I took over the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market two years ago and heard that we didn’t have that capability, I just went out and bought one out of pocket. Four other area markets got a grant from the city for wireless devices. Now, we have gone from zero to five markets where you can use an EBT card in the DC area. The wireless machine handles EBT, credit and debit cards and costs $1100 plus a $45 monthly charge. The hope is that the fee we charge people for debit cards usage will eventually pay off the cost of the machine. We don’t break even, but it is important that we have it.  Continues after the jump

“In terms of EBT outreach, this has been a real challenge for all of us at farmers markets. There has been a ton of EBT outreach in this city with very little success. Now, through Women, Infants and Children (WIC), there are food assistance coupons that can only be spent at farmers market. With WIC, DC residents went from spending zero dollars in 2003 to $32,000 a year at farmers markets. I think this is also due, in part, to word of mouth. I need to find some Malcolm Gladwell connector types and have them start spreading the word across DC and bringing their friends to farmers markets. Then, I think we will hit the tipping point with the EBT crowd as we did with WIC. We are putting up signs and doing outreach, but this is a real challenge everywhere, including New York City which has one of the most successful EBT programs in the country. Our numbers are not stellar. At this market, we have zero to two EBT transactions a week. But, we are trying.

“The thing with WIC money is that it is free money that you can only spend at a farmers market. If you don’t use it, it is gone. Whereas the EBT money can be spent at a grocery store. So, if you want to go and buy $80 of Top Ramen noodles, you can do that. While most products at farmers markets are more nutritious, it is a hard choice to make if you have a big, lower income family and need high calorie, inexpensive meals. But, what is hopefully coming this season is Councilmember Tommy Wells’ proposal to get $500,000 in matching funds for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients. The idea is to use $300,000 of that to match EBT money at area farmers markets. If you use $20 of EBT money here, I would give you another $20. Oddly enough, I didn’t ever think the problem would be how to give away $300,000. We don’t have the numbers right now to prove that there are $300,000 worth of sales. EBT customers still don’t know about or don’t want to come to farmers markets. I really want to spread the word to lower income people around the area and I don’t know how to do that yet.”

Learn more about the Mt. Pleasant farmers market here. And, if you have suggestions on helping Rebbie and the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market increase their outreach to lower income individuals, please provide ideas in the comments and/or contact them directly at [email protected]

39 Comment

  • Maybe it would help to have a “best bets” advertisements showing which items are cheaper at the market than they are at the store or how to stretch your market dollar. I find that there is a perception – sometimes true, sometimes not – that farmers markets are more expensive and designed just for rich yuppies. For example, at my market, one stand charges 50 cents per onion, which is cheaper than the grocery store, and one charges by the pound so you end up spending $1.50 if you buy there. Helping low-income consumers make smart choices at the market might enable them to shop there.

    If there is a project that gets underway as a result of this post, please let me know. I’d love to be involved in bringing these two communities (low-income families and farmers) together.

  • Also the 14&U and Bloomingdale markets accept both EBT and WIC and Senior Fresh Farm Vouchers.

  • DC’s farmers markets are too expensive for poor people. The end. Thanks for reading.

    Also, I’m all about subsidizing healthier foods via the public assistance programs, but expecting people to buy them at select locations that often aren’t near low income housing and are open only a couple hours a week is bogus as hell. Make the credits usable where people actually buy food and you’ll incentivize the retailers who are actually convenient for low income folks to actually stock something other than crap. But handing out money that can only be used at farmers markets is like handing out clothing and furniture credit that can only be used at craft fairs. I wouldn’t make this argument everywhere, but in a place like DC where the markets are strictly yuppie/hippie it just doesn’t make sense to try to get poor people to shop like college educated people.

  • Love the bile from the anon! Truthfully, many of the stands cater to the yuppie crowd, but even a small market like MP’s has plenty of options for people who need public assistance. As Melissa states above, a smart shopper can find great deals for great produce at the farmers markets in DC (aside from Dupont circle maybe.) A stall that sells cheap produce can be just as successful as a $10 goat cheese stall, and that is what makes the markets in town so vital to all segments of society.

    As always, I love to see anons that are so refreshingly dour and dismissive of posts, but this one is just off base. And THANK YOU for reading sir!

  • @Anonymous 12:18- Wow. Have you been to a farmer’s market lately? Sure, some things are more expensive than at the grocery store, but plenty of items are priced the same or lower, even at the “yuppie/hippie” Dupont market. Look past the artisinal gelato and tiny boxes of haricots verts and there are some great bargains! As Melissa says, you just have to compare prices at different stands and find the lowest ones.

    Sure, it’s not feasible to do ALL your shopping there, but I don’t see anything wrong with setting aside some of the money for farmer’s markets – it benefits local farmers AND the people spending the money because it points them towards nutritious fruits and vegetables that probably aren’t available at their local corner store. Poor people don’t have different nutritional needs than college-educated people, you know.

    And it’s not like food stamps are a new program, and yet I don’t see “retailers who are actually convenient for low income folks” stocking something “other than crap” yet. And if it hasn’t happened yet, I’m all for pushing things along with a little competition in the form of farmer’s markets!

  • …and I should add that “poor people” and “college educated people” aren’t two mutually exclusive groups, either.

  • I’d agree with anon, farmer’s markets products are just too expensive.
    I see what people buy with those EBT cards at giant and it’s usually soda/junk food and canned/packaged food and where you pay a dollar for a whole meal.

  • You could make the farmer’s market produce cheaper than Giant – won’t mean a thing if people (WIC/EBT or otherwise) can’t cook.

  • One correction: That zero to $32,000 figure was the increase from 2003 to 2009 for ONE farmers market. The WIC and Senior Get Fresh farmers market nutrition program checks amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in food assistance. And we see lots of them at Mount Pleasant, 14&U and Bloomingdale.

    Anon: There are lots of good deals at the markets. Recently, Garner at 14&U and Bloomingdale was selling 20 pound boxes of sweet potatoes or tomatoes for 12 dollars — less than 60 cents a pound! And he did that for weeks. There will be sales this weekend on greens for thanksgiving and winter squash. Winter squash lasts for months in a cool, dry place.

    Many if not Most Farmers discount if you buy a big quantity…

    Create a buying club among your friends and split a bushel of something. You will all get a great price. And it will be fresh. Buy seconds to make tomato sauce or jam or applesauce They may look less than perfect, but they taste good.

  • Agree that the produce at a farmer’s market could be the cheapest option and if you don’t know how to cook it doesn’t mean a thing (like me).

    Hey voiceofreason: remember having that Lean Cusine argument awhile back with me? Well… I’ve stopped eating them – at all! I have different things, like yogurt, granola, and a banana for breakfast, soup/entree for lunch, sandwich for dinner… But that’s besides the point – I would absolutely love to venture to a farmer’s market with you sometime to see how you shop and get a feel for what you look for when thinking about preparing a meal. Heck, we should have a PoP market adventure! I’d love to see how people go about putting a meal together; do you think about what you are going to buy before you go, or do you see something at the market that looks good a build a meal around that? I mean I’m not an idiot, I just don’t have the knack for throwing together various foods together and having it taste good.

  • Sameanon here. I love that folks think I don’t know anything about farmer’s markets or never go to them — I co-owned one in another area years ago before they were cool, and I’ve bought most of my in-season produce at them everywhere I’ve lived in the US and abroad. Yeah, even in DC you can spend half an hour wandering around looking at all the vendors and somebody’s going to have something cheaper than everyone else, and there are always going to be a handful of seasonal things that are cheaper than in the grocery stores. But seriously, go to markets in other big cities or in small towns, write down the prices, and come back to DC and try to tell me that ours aren’t radically overpriced. I feel like I’m at Whole Foods at the markets here.

    And yes, folks, I know there are “poor” people with college degrees, my point was the demographic split between our city’s professional class and those who are on public assistance. Fresh Food Lover, read the original post, I was talking about the subsidy where people would get more WIC money for spending some at farmers markets.

    I stand by my point that most people on public assistance don’t have access to farmers markets, and if we want to encourage healthier eating on the public dime and work on the food desert problem we’d be better off spending the money subsidizing good food no matter where it was bought, not trying to get poor folks to shop exactly like we do in Northwest and her colonies.

  • Wow, I am amazed at @anon’s vitriol about farmers markets and who they cater to. But more importantly, I am amazed at the blanket statements about ‘poor people’ and what they do and do not have the capacity to handle – outrageous!
    Sure, there is a perception that farmers markets are yuppie/hippie, but if you actually go to one, and price the food, and look at the crowd, you’ll see that is not the case.
    @melissa and @mal – most *good* farmers markets do work to point out the good deals each week in the main market tent, and provide recipe ideas too. But the reality is that cooking can be a bit of an art, and really only gets better with practice. So, just start cooking, trying things, use a recipe and then improvise. . . you’ll figure it out!
    Indeed, cooking is a bit of a lost art – But, to go slightly off topic, if we work to rediscover it, it would do WONDERS for the obesity epidemic plaguing our country.

  • Guys have you ever been to the farmer’s market at RFK stadium that is entirely focused on food for poor people?

    Anon, it is immaterial that most poor people don’t have access to farmer’s markets. the WIC program is almost definitely underfinanced with that expectation that some will use all their money but others won’t.

    Your problem is that you think the point of this government program is to provide people with healthy food. Why don’t you think that it’s a monetary subsidy for farmers? I think it’s the latter.

  • Anon. is right about one thing: Relative to other cities (even expensive ones), most DC markets are pretty expensive. Not saying there’s nothing to account for that fact, but I’ve found the markets here to be much pricier than the major city I live in prior to DC. Speaking anecdotally, of course.

    That said, I stand by the collective dismantling of the rest of Anon’s argument.

  • Sameanon back for more. elizqueenmama, I’m amazed that you can look at the people at farmers markets and tell if they’re poor or not. I’m not sure what’s troubling about the idea that people on public assistance might not have easy access to farmers markets. They’re by and large located in rich or gentrifying neighborhoods, and they’re mostly open only a few hours a week, either in the afternoon when child care would be an issue for most patrons (in the post-welfare reform having children is the main basis for benefits) or on weekends when public transit doesn’t run as often (which makes them harder to get to for everyone, but especially for the disabled, who are another large % of those on public assistance).

    Anybody else want to accuse me of hating poor people just because I mention socioeconomic differences and patterns in this city? I’ve got half a pot of coffee here and all the time in the world.

  • Isn’t there a farmers’ market in Trinidad as well? Hardly a yuppie bastion.

  • I have never found anything at a DC farmer’s market that was cheaper than in a grocery store like Costco, Shoppers, Asian grocery stores like H-Mart, etc. I seriously doubt there is anything that cheap.

    I suspect that people who say the food is as cheap or cheaper don’t know what they’re talking about or are comparing with very expensive stores.

    Now, at RFK I used to be able to buy a bushel of tomatoes for $25 and other cheap prices. In Dupont- never found anything cheaper than stores, never.

  • My Bronx/Irish/factory worker Grandmother – mother of 10 – used to travel a couple of miles and haul home crates (actual crates – as in giant boxes) of produce – bruised and discounted at the end of the day – from farmer’s markets to feed her family in the 1930’s. The kids would meet her at the streetcar stop with a wagon to haul it home.

    “Access” is not an excuse. Not knowing how to cook is not an excuse. There are hundreds of cookbooks & magazines in all the public libraries, or for 10 cents at yard sales, and dozens of programs to teach people. Any vendor at a farmer’s market will also be happy to explain basic preparation.

    The issue is laziness – and I am as guilty as any. I’m totally into veggies, but sometimes I’m just to lazy to tackle that kholrabi and eat cheese and crackers instead.

    Yes, I know there are also cultural factors, and certain areas of the city are less rich with produce options, but can anyone actually show me a single resident of DC who lives less than one mile walk or reasonable bus ride from an affordable source of fresh produce?

  • Anon- you hate poor people. I AM YOUR STRAW MAN!

    @Mal- has the VOR made his presence known on the thread yet? I am wondering what he feels about this. Or do we already know how he feels?

  • Ah, @anon, you assume that my neighbors who go to the farmers market in my neighborhood are strangers to me. It is not that I can look at how people are dressed or how they speak, it is that I know them. One of the wonderful outcomes of, oh, I don’t know, saying ‘hello!’ to people as I walk down the street in my lovely little mixed income ‘hood. Oh, and our market is small and caters mainly to people within a small radius/walking distance.
    Doing all one’s shopping at a farmers market is not reasonable. But encouraging people to get delicious, unwaxed, freshly picked apples that actually *taste like an apple* (shocking!) at a farmers market will go a long way to helping people to WANT to eat healthier!

  • Victoria,

    I was at a block party around 1999. This morbidly obese couple drove up in a red cadillac. They got out and proceeded to UNLOAD these ribs and cakes they made.

    I rolled my eyes.

    Their cousin eventually says something like, “Man, how can you eat like that? I gotta lose weight for my honey” and the man tells my neighbor, “Why you have to talk like that for? I’m a grown man and I can make up my own mind.” The wife joins in, “He’s just like the white ladies at work, always butting into my business like black people can’t make up their own mind and need to listen to how they do it.” The husband then says something like, “Darling Dear, would you please pass the granola and mayonnaise, ha ha.” and then turns to me, “We’re just funnin with ya.” as if I wasn’t interpreting this very differently.

    This idea that people think that the underclass would eat better if they understood how to eat better doesn’t take into account that many underclass are revolting against ALL kinds of white society and ideas of “the man.”

    I had a coworker who I overheard defending slapping her kids around because she wasn’t going to “act white.”

    So, I tend to think of it as patronizing to assume that the poor people who eat junk food don’t understand how to eat better versus they don’t WANT to eat better because their impression of eating better is that it’s square or nerdy and fast food is hip.

  • One thing I’ve noticed at the smaller markets is an emphasis on all natural, humanly raised, no pesticide types of product which tends to be a bit more expensive. How does this compare to the types of farms that serve markets in other cities? Or, does the fact that these markets tend to be started by mid-upper class people that are more interested in niche product lead to higher prices?

  • Never heard of one in Trinidad, there’s one on H but if that isn’t “rich or gentrifying” then I’m going to go sign up for English lessons because I don’t understand those words. There are 2 in southeast (I guess 3 if you count Eastern Market), but again there’s no way they’re ever going to be as convenient as a regular grocery store. Other than spreading rampant racism and reverse class warfare and bile and dropsy, my whole point here has been that if you want people who get public assistance to buy more of the types of foods that are sold at farmers markets the best way to do it probably isn’t to force them to buy them at farmers markets. If the point is to subsidize farmers markets that’s fine too, but doing it via only one type of consumer and creating red tape (EBT payments or WIC paper coupons) is an awkward way of going about it.

    Again, this is kind of a DC-centric argument. In the rural midwest I’ve seen paper WIC coupons that can be used at farmers markets work very well — in a town with 1000 people the saturday market in the town hall parking lot is as accessible as any other source of food, and giving benefit recipients access to what’s sold there makes sense. Part of the point of welfare reform was to allow states to adopt different policies that work for their circumstances, and I’m just arguing that pushing benefit recipients in DC toward farmers markets is a bit of an odd and presumptuous policy.

  • For most of this year, the farmers markets had a 3-to-1 “bonus” for WIC users, (in part) in the hopes that it would encourage more healthy eating. Which I thought was pretty cool.

  • @elizqueenmama: I’ve noticed that using a recipe and improvising works well – my only problem is having enough of the stuff in my cupboards which is why I asked if people plan ahead, or see what looks good. Cooking with healthy stuff definitely helps with the whole obesity thing – my mom cooked very healthy meals at least 5 nights a week (and packed healthy lunches) when we were kids; now that I’m on my own I gotta step it up!

    @The Centzon Totochtin: VOR hasn’t replied yet, but this just reminded me of the whole Lean Cuisine argument, and how he was vouching for fresh organic type food and that lean cuisines were evil 😉

  • Dropsy Anon? Dropsy? the character from Uncle Tom’s Cabin? You racist so and so.


    but seriously, you never touched on my argument that this was a program for farmers and not for poor people.

  • We’re at the DC Farmers’ Markets every weekend we’re in town. We bounce between U Street and Mount Pleasant during the summer and Dupont and Takoma in the winter. We do about 97% of our produce shopping there.

    I’ll say that, as others have said, prices can vary greatly between stands. I once paid $9 for a lb. of kale where 3 stands over I could have paid $2. Doh. But you can get great deals there. I’ve seen many people using what I’m guessing was WIC there, and that really makes me happy. Nutrition should not be something that is only accessible to the wealthy.

    I recently saw a news article where a mother was bringing her children to the farmers’ market and loading up on vegetables. She said that she’s able to stretch her government assistance by freezing what she wouldn’t use in that week. Awesome – very cool that we have access to such great markets here and that everyone can take advantage of them.

    Thanks, Rebbie, for being on the forefront of making Farmers’ Markets EBT accessible.

  • Neener, 2:10 is me, sameanon, where I said:

    “If the point is to subsidize farmers markets that’s fine too, but doing it via only one type of consumer and creating red tape (EBT payments or WIC paper coupons) is an awkward way of going about it.”

    From a farmer’s perspective I can see wanting to be able to sell tomatoes to someone who otherwise buys them at Safeway using EBT, and the paper coupons accomplish this pretty well since I’m pretty sure they can only be used at farmers markets (preventing them from becoming street currency as paper food stamps used to), but then again I think people have to request them or something like that. Been a while since I knew all of this stuff and it probably has all changed since then. My point was more directed at additional benefits being given to people as an incentive to buy at farmers markets, which I guess you can read as both a subsidy that might make markets more viable in poor areas or an encouragement to eat the kinds of stuff sold at markets. My point was that if the point was the latter, we should be subsidizing good food anywhere to make it convenient and available year round.

  • neener, i’m not sure what anon is talking about, but “dropsy” is an archaeic medical term for, I think, edema.

  • Neener, the farmer’s markets may be more expensive than Costco, Shoppers or H. Mart, but how in the world do you get to those places? A car? If you can afford transportation out to Wheaton or Alexandria or wherever you’re getting your bargain-basement food, you’re already several steps ahead of a lot of us. Plus, when you factor in the cost of car payments, insurance, and gas, you’re probably paying just as much anyway.

    I have definitely found cheaper items at the markets (MtP is the one I usually hit) than Giant and Safeway. Bestway is cheaper for certain things, but that’s about it. I base this observation purely on stores that are accessible to those who do the vast majority of their shopping in Green Line country without the aid of a car.

  • the Ward 8 farmers’ market is cheap–it’s not much further from the Congress Heights metro than the Giant is (although in the other direction) and it cost about the same. I imagine that in the years before the Giant opened, it was a real asset.

    I agree with what most people are saying here–I’ve tried a bunch of markets around the city, and if I shop carefully the produce isn’t more expensive than grocery stores. I don’t really save any money, though. And it’s inconvenient to shop there and then go to a supermarket for dry goods. Plus, I’m ok with eating the same produce over and over (tomatoes in August, squash now). I imagine that other people, both rich and poor, might be less willing to deal with these things.

  • Warderite, the most public transit accessible costco in the US is right over at Pentagon City. The issue there for lower income folks is the quantities.

  • I do a lot of my shopping at Eastern Market. I would like to go to H Street or Dupont more often, but why must they close at noon on a weekend? By the time I wake up, lounge about a bit, and have a cup of tea, they’re closed. I don’t feel any urgency with Eastern Market only a couple of blocks away, but it’d be nice to get out to other markets more often, but not at the expense of my weekend leisure.

    I agree that you have to work really hard to find bargains though. Eastern Market is definitely more expensive than Safeway and Harris Teeter, but I know the vendors and it also doesn’t allow me to throw any random processed crap into my cart. (I eat fresh food like 90% of the time, but I’m not ashamed to admit a fondness for processed crap. Blue jello? neat-o!) The only random thing I leave EM w/ is an extra pork chop or something, rather than something processed and weird that I thought looked “fun.”

    But, when I go to my dad’s place up in PA, I go to the farm store and it’s crazy cheap. Last time I was there was tomato season, and with his senior citizen discount, I paid $16 for a huge box of tomatoes, and then another box filled with all kinds of fresh vegetables that they’d picked that morning.

    I think the issue in DC is that most – not all – but most farmer’s markets DO cater to the yuppie/hippie/Whole Foods crowd. There’s a difference between a regular old farmer’s market and the Freshfarm markets that are so abundant here (H St, Dupont, Penn Quarter, White House etc) that concentrate on organic fancy schmancy stuff. You can get good cheap produce and meats at the Florida Ave. market, that’re fresher than the grocery store, but wouldn’t meet the standards of the Fresh Farm folks – but that’s just regular food, not the local/organic/grassfed/etc stuff. Same with most of the stuff at Eastern Market -the stuff that’s just from regular farms can be a good deal.

  • Sorry, DC. You don’t know what a Farmer’s Market is. What you have here is a yuppie farmer’s market with overpriced trinkets and foods that give people the illusion of being green and healthy. What you don’t realize is that a good chunk of the stuff you see in those rustic looking bins on the street is sourced from the same place as the stuff you see in the market. Go to some rural areas and you will see what a Farmer’s Market is and what the prices are.

    People should not be receiving subsidies to increase the quality of their lifestyle. If anything, they should be penalized so that they have an incentive to get off food stamps and out of free housing. If I had it my way, food stamps would only be allowed on a very select core of healthy, cheap, and store brand foods like plain oatmeal, canned tuna, milk, etc. If they want more in life, they can get off their behinds and work for it, like everybody else.

  • I love this, as if we have never been to a farmer’s market in farm country or are unaware that when Tuscarora drives down from Pennsylvania that we’re paying for their gas. We’re all aware of this publius.

    DCPublius, WIC food stamps are food stamps for the kids unlucky enough to be born to parents too dumb to get good jobs. WIC is not for the parents necessarily, it’s for the minor children:

    If you think that the kids under 5 should be penalized for their parents’ bad, but not illegal, behavior then let me know.

    I appreciate the years my parents refused to bail me out of a financial hole, but I had a job paying 3x the poverty rate. What I needed to do was stop buying lunch at work- it doesn’t benefit our society when people who are on the verge of becoming homeless, suddenly are and then break laws to keep above water.


    Regarding the dropsy comment, that was a joke. The character was named Topsy. While not out and out racist, the reaction to the character in the early 20th century was.

  • @mal hmm. . . i suppose it is a bit tricky to get started on that front. I think that at first, people tend to plan ahead and have a bit of a list of things ready (but be prepared to improvise if the exact things in your recipe are not available/too expensive!) But what tends to happen after you’ve been cooking for awhile is that you have end up with a few dozen ‘standby’ recipes – then you can go to the store/market and find that hey! the cauliflower looks really great and cheap today! so why don’t i make the cauliflower mash that is so good. . . hmm. . . do I have butter? yep! is there any beef or pork on sale? yep! excellent! that’ll work! And thus a seasonal meal is built.
    But also, particularly if it is just you, be prepared to eat, for instance, green beans all week. because they were fresh and cheap. i shop for kids too, which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax!

  • Capitol Market just off Florida between 2nd and 5th is a great choice if you’re looking for cheap produce. I have no idea if they accept food stamps (there are like 30 separate vendors in several buildings), but it is definitely cheap, and open past noon as well.

  • Oops, Capital Market

  • @Mal – I shop the farmer’s market by knowing what I think I would like to make, what looks fresh this week, and what I can realistically keep in the fridge/pantry. It’s always a mix.

    All the farmer’s markets have free recipes, but the catch to improvising a meal is cooking a lot. You have build up your repetoire of recipes and some basic techniques by cooking and cooking some more. Learn to cook by watching Alton Brown and get a copy of the Joy of Cooking. Make what appeals to you and read up on food science and ingredients. (I rediscovered cornstarch this year and it’s great for dessert making. Choco pudding! Fruit sauces!)
    As far as the discussion about farmer’s subsidies go, most of the subsidies given out by the Ag Dept are to large corporate farms designed to prop up the prices of feed lot corn (for meat animals), cotton, and wheat (Nifty 2004 chart here: I don’t think EBT/WIC is a subsidy to farmers as much as it is for people who are down on their luck and want to eat some veggies. Looking at the subsidy list, it’s more like a junk food eater’s paradise of chips fried in oil coated with sugar, honey and peanuts or cheese powder. Take your pick.

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