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  1. Lt. Governor

Simon pushing increased access to local, healthy foods  

CARBONDALE – April 11, 2014. Continuing her efforts to increase access to local and healthy foods, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will visit the Carbondale Community Farmers Market at Carbondale Community High School at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday. While visiting vendors and customers, Simon will urge farmers markets across Illinois to accept Link cards via new wireless technology provided by the state.

The Carbondale Community Farmers Market is the first market in Illinois to receive a free wireless point-of-sale terminal through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), Xerox, MerchantSource and Total Merchant Services. This partnership promotes acceptance of the Link card for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps. Simon added that this program represents a strong public-private partnership that can help consumers access fresh fruits and vegetables and increase revenues for local businesses.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly one out of six Illinoisans are receiving SNAP benefits. Currently, about a quarter of the nearly 400 Illinois farmers markets in the state are accepting these benefits.

“I encourage all farmers markets across the state to follow Carbondale’s lead and open their stands to all residents,” Simon said. “We all win when all families can access healthy food at farmers markets and support our local farmers.”

“We are excited to have Lt. Governor Simon visit and see the great things going on at the Carbondale Community Farmers Market,” said Carbondale Community Farmers Market Manager Angie Kuehl. “We are proud to be offering many great local products, accepting Link benefits and using new technologies to increase the availability of nutritious goods.”

Established by Governor’s executive order and chaired by Simon, the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council is tasked with improving delivery of state services to rural Illinois and expanding opportunities for rural residents to enhance their quality of life. Under Simon's leadership, GRAC has been focused on increasing access to local foods as a way to promote healthier eating and spur economic development.