In order to accept CalFresh EBT, you must complete the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Application. We recommend you use the online application. To sign into the application portal, first create an online account with a username and password. Once you start the application, you can save and return to it within 30 days. After 30 days, your account will remain active, but your unfinished application will be automatically deleted.
Once you submit the online application, you must sign the signature page and send it along with supporting documentation, which varies depending on the markets’ ownership type.
If you are applying for multiple farmers’ markets at the same time, you will need to fill out a separate application for each location. If you are applying for more than 10 farmers’ markets at once, you may qualify as a Multi Store Owner (MSO). Contact FNS to see if you are eligible and for a separate form to use to apply for a large number of outlets at once.
Once the application is approved, USDA will issue your market or association a FNS number. Your farmers’ market is then considered an Authorized Retailer and may accept SNAP. From the time FNS receives the completed application, including the signature page and documentation, the authorization typically takes 30-45 days.
Note: A farmers’ market does not need to be a Certified Farmers’ Market and a farmer does not need to be a Certified Producer to become an authorized SNAP retailer.
There are some important differences in the application for a farmers’ market vs. another type of farm-direct outlet (farmer, farm stand, CSA, mobile market). Please see the guides below which give a detailed walk-through of the FNS application for each type of outlet:
As part of the application process, a FNS representative may conduct a site visit to your market. The day of the visit, the representative will look for the market manager when they arrive at the market, and they will identify themselves to the manager. The manager will then sign a letter of consent for the site visit and have an opportunity to contact the SNAP Retailer Service Center if there are any questions about the visit. The site visits should take less than an hour to complete. The contractor will take photos of the market, conduct a product inventory, make a sketch of the market, and verify the market location.
FNS conducts site visits with all SNAP retailers, and they may either be before or after authorization. This will not delay the application process or have any impact on approval or disapproval of the FNS application.
Once your market becomes SNAP Authorized, you will need to renew your authorization every five years. When it is time for reauthorization, FNS will send you a letter in the mail with instructions. You will need to complete the reauthorization application within 30 days of receiving notice of reauthorization, so we recommend you fill it out and submit it as soon as you possibly can. Keep in mind, it may ask you to submit back up documentation, such as an ID or SSN, just as the original application did. For more information about the required supporting documentation, see our FNS Application Guides above.
For questions about how to fill out the FNS Application:
Ecology Center Farmers’ Market EBT Technical Assistance Program
For questions about the status of your application:
USDA Food Nutrition Service (FNS) Farmers’ Market Customer Service Hotline (for farmers’ markets only)
312-353-6609; Email Tarissa Johnson at Tarissa.firstname.lastname@example.org (farmers’ market contact at Food Nutrition Service)
SNAP Retailer Service Center (for all other farm-direct outlets)