McLean County Farm Bureau

A 15-year-old federal program is still being called a win-win for farmers market vendors and customers.

The DeKalb Farmers Market is the only one in DeKalb County that both accepts LINK benefits — Illinois’ version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — and matches those dollars through Link Up Illinois. The program has become so popular that on the first day of the 2022 season, the market ran out of vouchers for the extra benefits. That seems to follow a national trend. At least $59 million in SNAP benefits were redeemed at over 5,000 farmers markets in fiscal year 2021, according to USDA Food and Nutrition Service. In part one of a series, FarmWeek’s Timothy Eggert analyzes Link Up Illinois and SNAP spending.