Scenes from the August 5,
2006 Kansas Grown Market in Wichita.
The market is for products
produced only in Kansas and is held each Saturday on the grounds of
the KSU County Extension office, 7001 W. 21st. N. For more
information on mid-week markets and additional sites in the Wichita
This market is one of two pilot markets testing wireless swipe card
machines. The other pilot is in Lawrence. Food stamps and other cash
assistance to low income people increasingly comes in the form of a
swipe card, much like a credit or debit card. The wireless machines
allow these benefits, known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to
be used at farmers markets, where normally there is no phone line,
and often no electricity.
The market starts early. There
are between 5,000 and 9,000 customers each week.
This vendor accepts Kansas
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons
(Note the KSFMNP logo at the bottom of their sign)
which help low-income seniors buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
Close up of the Kansas Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program sign.
The market offers a wide
variety of fruits, vegetables, meat and flowers.
The food assistance programs can only be used for food.
An informational sign promotes
the new swipe card program.
An informational card for the
vendors. The machine also accepts debit cards. Tokens are given out
to be used by customers when buying products from the vendors. Debit
cards and Non-Cash Assistance cards are filled with $5 tokens which
can be treated just as cash for anything in the market. Vendors can
make change for the $5 tokens. The food assistance cards are filled
with $1 tokens only. The vendors do not charge sales tax on food
items purchased with these tokens, and they are not allowed to make
change. All purchases with the $1 tokens have to be in multiples of
$1. Vendors add produce or advise the customer to choose additional
produce until they reach the dollar level.
The managers booth houses the
machine, and the tokens. Customers wishing to shop with their Vision
cards or others, just needing cash, can pass by with their debit
cards and the machine treats the card as it would in a supermarket
setting. The customer gets a receipt, and the machine prints and
additional file copy and totals at the end of the day. The machines
cost approximately $1,000. They have been in use in other states and
they quickly allowed markets to greatly increase their revenue.
Credit card redemption with the machines is planned for the near
Wichita area peaches. Hard to
Certified organic, chemical
free, and conventional produce is all available at the market.
Cut flowers are beautiful,
longer lasting, and inexpensive.
Processed foods are available.
Larry Tiemann, grower and
Farmers markets are one of the
few arenas where budding entrepreneurs can easily access customers,
and learn to grow a business with little start-up cost.
A day at the market is a
pleasant outing that improves your nutrition,
your local economy, and your lifestyle.
And it tastes sooooo good!
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