SNAP Gardens

Toolkit for SNAP Participants

Tomato Plants on Sale

Where to buy:

Any authorized SNAP retailer can sell food-producing plants and seeds, but not all do. (However, not all retailers that sell food-producing plants and seeds are authorized to accept SNAP. To learn what determines SNAP retailer eligibility, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/store-eligibility.htm)

If the places where you use SNAP benefits sell food-producing plants or seeds, then you can use your benefits to purchase those items. It should be as simple as that.

To find a retailer near you that welcomes SNAP EBT customers, use the SNAP Retailer Locator at http://www.snapretailerlocator.com (NOTE: Many farmers markets that welcome SNAP are not listed.)
Many farmers markets now accept SNAP benefits. To find such a market, visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers Market Search. http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets Click “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” under “Forms of Payment Accepted.”

If your preferred retailer does not sell food-producing plants or seeds, consider asking them to place a special order. If you have a seed or plant catalog, bring it to the retailer, and show them exactly what you’d like them to order for you.
If you are told by a cashier at an authorized SNAP Retailer that you cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase food-producing plants or seeds, it is probably due to a computer programming error. You can ask to talk to a manager, and ask them to please verify that you can purchase those food-producing plants or seeds at the Eligible Food Items on the USDA website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm. There they will find “Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy…Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.”

Problems buying?

If you are buying both SNAP eligible and non-eligible items (such as shampoo, toilet paper or alcoholic beverages) during the same shopping trip, make sure you check your receipt to be sure your plant and/or seed purchases were classified as SNAP eligible.
If you still encounter trouble making these purchases, please email us at [email protected] and we will help you report this problem to your local SNAP Field Office, so that in the future, you and other SNAP recipients are less likely to encounter this problem. (Aside from communicating with the SNAP office, we will keep all information confidential.)

Where to garden:

Find out if there is a community garden in your neighborhood. Visit the American Community Garden Association at www.communitygarden.org to find a garden near you. If you can’t find a garden there, do a Google search “community garden” + the name of the neighborhood/town you’d like to garden. If there is no community garden near you, think about working to start one. Some tips on starting are here: http://www.communitygarden.org/learn/starting-a-community-garden.php
If you live in public housing, ask management if there might be space to garden. Contact your municipal Parks Department to find out if there’s any public land that can be gardened.

How to garden:

Contact your local Master Gardener organization to ask for expert volunteer assistance: http://www.ahs.org/master_gardeners/index.htm
Your local public library also likely has some good gardening books to lend.
Kitchen Gardeners International offers some wonderful blogs, forums, and other gardening resources. http://kitchengardeners.org/
There are tons of gardening videos on YouTube. Here’s one from Vegetable Gardening Ideas:

Vegetable Gardening Ideas provides a lot of vegetable growing instructions. http://www.vegetablegardeningideas.com/vegetable-growing-instructions/

Share your ideas and experiences with us!

Have other ideas or resources? Please share with us at [email protected] or fill out our comment form!
Do you use your some of your SNAP benefits to buy plants and seeds? Please take our survey.

En Español:

Se puede usar los Cupones para Alimentos (SNAP) para comprar plantas o semillas para cultivar comestibles. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/sp-facts.htm