Forever Sunrise Organics began accepting debit cards in December from residents enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Until recently, SNAP recipients were forced to pay in cash if they wanted produce deliveries. Program recipients get cards, much like an ATM card, that can be used only for food purchases.
"It was very unfair," Roxanna Sims, a co-owner of Forever Sunrise Organics, told (http://bit.ly/UTe78S) The Anniston Star. "If you didn't have cash we couldn't sell you vegetables."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the farm to receive payments from its debit card system in November. The business got a mobile credit card scanner the following month so it could accept payments while making deliveries.
Agriculture department researchers concluded in 2009 that food costs and limited access to good food sources discourage poor households from eating healthier. Researchers have also said that people eat less nutritious food when they live far from a supermarket and lack transportation.
Sims said she hopes the program will reach people who lack access to produce.
"This is for people who want to eat healthier," she said. "It encourages people to cook different foods and to eat more local."