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Evolving stories About Growing Food in a Big City

5 Chicago Farmers Markets to accept EBT/LINK this season

Cassandra West

Five Chicago Farmers Markets have been authorized to accept EBT/LINK cards when the selling season kicks off on May 13, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events announced this week. EBT/LINK service will be available on these days: Tuesdays at Lincoln Square; Wednesdays at South Shore in the ShoreBank parking lot; Thursdays on Daley Plaza; Saturdays at Division Street; and Sundays at the Beverly market.

The Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT/LINK card, is the identification card for participants in the Federal Snap Benefits Food Stamp Program and is offered throughout Illinois to those who qualify. The backs of the cards have a magnetic strip that users swipe through an EBT/LINK machine much like a debit card.

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events is partnering with Experimental Station, a non-profit organization, to administer the program on site. Experimental Station operates the 61st Street Farmers Market.

“Experimental Station is pleased to offer this practical solution to making City of Chicago farmers markets accessible to more Chicagoans. We believe that people who shop at farmers markets not only develop a stronger connection to their food and to the producers of their food, but to one another,” says Connie Spreen, Experimental Station Executive Director.

Expanding EBT/LINK service to farmers markets also allows card users greater access to fresh produce and healthy foods, said Chris Raguso, acting commission in the city’s Department of Community Development.

Chicago Farmers Markets – 19 throughout the city-- offer fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, plants, baked goods and more. The season officially begins May 13 on Daley Plaza. For more information, call 312-744-3316 or visit

Click here for the 2010 list of Chicago Farmers Markets.