Yesterday, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stopped by Union Square on the first market day of the New Year to applaud an increase in use of food stamps at GrowNYC Greenmarkets across the city in 2011. Food stamp purchases at Greenmarkets increased from $505,166 to over $620,000 in 2011, a 23 percent increase from 2010. Some markets reported nearly $6,000 in food stamp sales in a single day. In 2011, approximately 75% of food stamp dollars at Greenmarkets were spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, while EBT spent on baked goods dropped by nearly 5 percent. Families are choosing nutrition first by spending their limited food dollars on the healthiest options available at the farmers market. At the same time, these dollars are reinvested in our regional economy as increased revenues for farmers. The Union Square Greenmarket had the highest food stamp sales of any market at $151,813 in 2011. Greenmarket partnered with the NYC Food Bank to offer food stamp screenings for more than 250 New Yorkers at Union Square to determine if they qualify for Food Stamps, providing valuable public education and outreach on the program. GrowNYC is deeply grateful to Speaker Quinn and the New York City Council for their support of this program. In 2006, the City Council began partnering with GrowNYC to provide funding for EBT scanners, signage, community outreach, merchant account fees and dedicated staff members to operate the machines at the Greenmarkets. The program has been highly successful and this year EBT was accepted at 43 Greenmarkets. Read more about our EBT program, find a Greenmarket near you that accepts EBT, or read NY1's coverage of our great 2011.