Champaign farmers market going to backup plan for SNAP transactions

Champaign farmers market going to backup plan for SNAP transactions

CHAMPAIGN — A farmers market is going to a backup plan to process food-stamp benefits after the vendor it uses for those electronic transactions announced it is shutting down that service.

The Washington Post reported that Texas-based Novo Dia Group, which processes around 40 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at farmers markets nationwide, will end market operations at the end of the month.

In Champaign, the Land Connection farmers market uses Novo Dia, said manager Sarah Simeziane. She said until it can find a new vendor, it will go to a backup system where staff places a phone call to verify someone's benefits, then gives the person tokens to spend on food.

Simeziane said accepting SNAP benefits is key to making sure everyone is welcome at the event, which happens every Tuesday in the parking lot at Washington and Neil streets downtown.

Urbana's Market at the Square said it is not affected by Novo Dia Group's move.