U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Expands Food Assistance in Michigan

An extra 350,000 Michigan families will be able to get food assistance this month thanks to the US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. 

That brings the state’s total to more than 700,000. 

Those households will get a monthly boost, even if they’re already getting the maximum payment, and use their bridge card for fresh produce across the state. 

“They can spend it at any farmers market,” said Emily Stuchell, Market Manager of the Downtown Petoskey Farmer’s Market. “Bridge card is also accepted at many grocery stores but this is just a great way to give back to farmers and help people to eat local.” 

The Downtown Petoskey Farmer’s Market opened up for the season on Friday, and customers are already using their bridge cards, keeping that money local. 

“If you qualify financially, there’s also the PEBT card that targets children who might have some food insecurity in the home and then they can come, they swipe a card, they’re able to get some tokens and then almost all of our farmers accept those tokens,” said Stuchell.

Not only does this benefit struggling families, but also local farmers, including Owner of Lakeshore Country Farms A.J. Nolan.

“We’re really early into it, but it allows access to our food that we have here,” said Nolan. “Worked well for us today.” 

Plus, it’s a way to help families eat a little healthier. “If people need food, fresh produce and things like that it’s a great resource that they can have to help supplement income,” said Nolan. 

The downtown farmer’s market is open on Friday’s from now through September.