Can I Use My SNAP EBT Card to Buy Seeds and Plants to Grow My Own Food?

Little boyы and girl with vegetables on a farm .
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If you receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and have a green thumb, you can make your dollars go further by using your SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to buy seeds and edible plants.

See: 5 Budget-Friendly Stores That Accept SNAP
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All SNAP retailers, including eligible farmers’ markets, can sell seeds and plants to SNAP participants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. Growing your own food is a surefire way to stretch your money.

The USDA estimates that for every dollar spent on seeds and fertilizer, home gardeners can grow an average of $25 worth of produce. Growing food from seeds and plants helps SNAP benefits last longer, which allows recipients to increase the value of their benefits over time.

Supplementing SNAP with homegrown food also makes it possible for families to buy food products that they wouldn’t normally be able to afford. This is especially true during times of high inflation (like now), when the prices of produce items such as peas, spinach, carrots and broccoli have been on a steady rise.

Make Your Money Work for You

Growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs also encourages a healthier diet.

SNAP recipients who are new to gardening should visit the USDA’s SNAP-Ed site, which provides links to numerous resources that can help you get started.

Starting a vegetable garden on a budget is no problem as long as you take the right steps. As GOBankingRates previously reported, you can start one at home using seeds from the produce you bought at the store — growing everything from bell peppers and onions to potatoes and avocados.

You can even start a garden indoors, using hanging baskets and containers placed near windows or on windowsills. Tomatoes, dwarf peppers, beans, peas and salad crops are all good choices for indoor containers.

Learn: Walmart Accepts EBT/SNAP Food Stamps As Payment — What Are the Restrictions?
SNAP Benefits: How Long Do They Last?

Before buying seeds and plants, make sure your EBT card has been reloaded. If you aren’t sure when your state reloads the card, check out this guide from GOBankingRates.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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