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SNAP benefits assist with gardening in Southeast

Posted: June 16, 2011 - 5:01pm

Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may choose to use those benefits to help stretch their food budget this summer by growing nutritious vegetables and culinary herbs.

One recipient, who has already purchased seeds and plants said, “My family can eat what we grow in the summer, and we can save our food stamps for when food is more expensive in the winter.”

According to specialists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, a 10- by 10-foot garden can produce up to 50 pounds of vegetables valued at $300.

Though growing food requires an investment of time, space and supplies not covered by the benefits, many find the satisfaction of growing their own food worth the extra effort — it is fresher and more nutritious than produce that has been shipped in from the Lower 48 and can include varieties of produce that may not be available at the store. It is also a great way to get outside and be physically active.

The Alaska Division of Public Assistance website states, “Food stamps can be used to purchase seeds, plants, roots and trees that produce fresh vegetables and fruits. Food stamps can also be used to purchase seeds and plants to grow spice and herbs that are used for cooking foods.”

Purchases must be made where the Quest card is accepted. Card users with questions or issues with Authorized Quest Card Retailers can contact the EBT Help Desk toll-free at 1-888-620-1111. Vendors interested in joining the Quest card program can contact Cheryl Kagee at 907-465-3354 or Cheryl.kagee@alaska.gov

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