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Simon urges farmers' markets to accept plastic 

The Southern Illinoisan
July 6, 2012 

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is urging local farmers’ markets to apply for a federal grant that would pay for wireless machines that accept debit, credit and Link cards.

A $182,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture hopes to increase access to fresh, local foods for low-income residents and increase sales of those feeds by allowing the markets to wirelessly accept Link cards.

The application deadline is noon Monday.

“This is a great opportunity to boost access to local foods in Illinois and make sure we keep more of our food dollars in the state,” Simon said in a statement. “I urge every farmers’ market to apply and take advantage of this one-time federal funding. It will help farmers connect with new customers and increase sales.”

Recipients will be selected by the middle of this month and will be provided with kits, training and promotional materials from the lieutenant governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Illinois Department of Human Services also participates in the project, with Experimental Station and Illinois Farmers Market Association helping with the training and promotional materials.

For more information on the grants, visit or call 217-524-9129.