One almost secret benefit of the EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) program, which incorporates a food benefit in place of the more antiquated “food stamps” programs nation wide, is that it includes the purchase of garden plants and seeds!
The EBT card holder can use the card in the garden shop just as it is used in the grocery store. All garden plants and seeds will be paid for completely by the EBT food benefit. The seeds or plants must be fruit or vegetable producing. This even includes fruit trees! It is unclear how they address some plants that could lean both ways, like sunflowers, but the more standard fare like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, peppers and anything else you can grow in a garden is covered.
The catch is that not all stores that sell plants and seeds accept EBT, so be certain the store at which you plan to shop accepts the EBT card before you load up your cart.
Home Depot is noted for not accepting EBT, at least not at last check. Lowes, on the other hand, does accept it in some states, but not others. Walmart, which has a large garden shop, albeit not as diverse as some, appears to universally accept EBT. And some
smaller garden shops accept EBT and others do not.
If you receive EBT benefits and you like to grow your own produce, the EBT benefit can help enormously. And it also stretches the EBT dollar providing orders of magnitude more food than direct purchase of produce. It also allows the EBT card holder to focus
on organic gardening, placing a broad range of organic foods within reach of those on limited income.
While EBT won’t pay for the fertilizer, soil, equipment, labor, etc., it will still significantly lower the cost to plan and grow a successful garden for those receiving the benefit.
To find out if you qualify for EBT in your state, do the following
Photo via NCAT