Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
Token & Special Programs Policies
Our markets accept EBT/SNAP (food stamps), credit cards (Visa, MC, Discover), debit cards, Apple Pay, and personal checks. Cash is always preferred, but in this plastic economy, we have developed a way to keep our shoppers shopping. At the Welcome Tent, we can convert funds from EBT/SNAP, credit cards, debit cards and personal checks into wooden tokens. All vendors at the Crescent City Farmers Market are required to accept all forms of tokens and Market Umbrella issued vouchers, and to participate in all market programming that applies to their product. Tokens (with some exceptions for EBT/SNAP) may be used to purchase items from vendors, drinks, or merchandise at the Welcome Tent, and as payment for stall and other Market Umbrella administrative fees.
EBT(Purple $5 & Blue $1 tokens)
Shoppers who purchase tokens with an EBT/SNAP (food stamp) card receive PURPLE $5 and/or BLUE $1 tokens. IMPORTANT: These tokens can only be used to purchase SNAP-eligible food items (produce, seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, bread, plants which produce food, and prepared foods not intended for on-premises consumption); a vendor can never accept the PURPLE or BLUE tokens for hot food, any food for on-premises consumption, non-edible plants, pet food, or any other non- food products.
Ineligible EBT/SNAP Items also include those that contain alcohol or tobacco, non- consumables such as paper products, vitamins, and supplements.
Additionally, a vendor may not give cash as change for PURPLE or BLUE (EBT/SNAP) tokens. U.S. law prohibits the return of U.S. currency as change for receiving tokens in excess of the posted value of the product purchased by the customer. Customers must receive full value for their tokens. Vendors can only exchange tokens with authorized Market Umbrella staff for U.S. currency or reimbursement.
Violations of this policy are strictly prohibited and any violation could result in disciplinary actions.
Debit/Credit (Green $5 & Orange $1 tokens)
We accept credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and personal checks at the Welcome Tent for the purchase of debit/credit tokens. The customer may receive their currency in either $5 GREEN or $1 ORANGE tokens. Vendors may accept these tokens for all market products and can give either cash or ORANGE tokens as change for any purchases. For example, if a pound of Creole tomatoes costs $3 and a vendor is given a $5 GREEN token, the shopper may receive the tomatoes and either $2 in cash or two $1 ORANGE tokens. Vendors are prohibited to issue $1 BLUE EBT/SNAP tokens as change for credit/debit token or cash purchases.
Market Match (Black $5 & Red $1 tokens) – Fruits and Vegetables ONLY
Market Match is a Market Umbrella program that helps SNAP shoppers eat healthy and supports local farmers. As part of the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program grant supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Market Umbrella matches SNAP purchases at the CCFM dollar-for-dollar, up to $20 per market visit, with BLACK $5 and RED $1 Market Match tokens that can only be spent on fruits and vegetables at the market. Only RED $1 Market Match tokens may be given for change when Market Match tokens are used to make a purchase. To ensure accurate grant reporting, vendors must submit all Market Match tokens collected during a market to MU staff at the end of each market, along with a completed Market Match reimbursement form. Vendors will be reimbursed for Market Match tokens during regularly occurring token reimbursements.
I. Special Programs
FMNP (Farmers Market Nutrition Program)
Market Umbrella’s Crescent City Farmers Markets participate in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), a USDA program administered by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF). During FMNP season, LDAF issues coupons to vulnerable seniors (S/FMNP) and mothers enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program (WIC/FMNP). These coupons may be used to purchase eligible items including locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey (Senior FMNP only) at farmers markets and roadside stands from certified vendors only. Farmers cannot give change for coupons; therefore, each purchase must be at least $4. Only vendors that have signed "Farmer Participation Agreements" with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry may accept the coupons. If you would like to participate in the program, please inquire with a Market Umbrella staff member. Any non-certified vendor is prohibited from accepting FMNP coupons as a form of payment. The sale of ineligible items using FMNP coupons is prohibited.
Other Market Programs
Market Umbrella cultivates the field of public markets for public good with engineered efforts to balance supply and demand in ways that support the entire market community. We develop outreach and incentive programs for special populations, such as school children, seniors, WIC mothers, SNAP shoppers, and health clinic patients. When we develop these outreach and incentive programs, we do so with the goals of increasing market foot traffic and increasing earnings for our vendors. With these end goals in mind, we require that all vendors fully participate in all market programs and fully welcome our program participants to the market.
II. How vendors get reimbursed for tokens
Vendors may choose to use tokens (except for Market Match) to pay Market Umbrella fees (ie market rent), purchase items at the CCFM, or they may request reimbursement for them. Here are the steps for token reimbursement:
- Vendor collects & totals the value of their wooden tokens
- Vendor completes a Token Reimbursement Form
- On the appropriate token reimbursement days, vendor turns in completed forms & tokens to the designated Market Umbrella staffer who verifies the token amounts and provides the vendor with a receipt
- The reimbursement form is submitted to the Market Umbrella Finance Department
- The Finance Department then issues a check or ACH payment to the vendor. The check will be hand-delivered to the vendor at the market. If the vendor is not returning to market, or upon request, the check will be mailed to the address on file with Market Umbrella
- Reimbursements usually are processed within 10 business days if by check, or sooner if by ACH payment
All vendors are responsible for payment of their own sales tax. Each vendor is considered her/his own company and must pay sales tax under her/his own E.I.N. or social security number. Market Umbrella will not keep track of vendor sales or the amount of tax owed.
Market Umbrella has been operating a token system since 2004. Throughout the years, we have printed several different types of tokens. Though tokens never expire, as they get old we take them out of circulation. This involves punching a hole through the middle of the token and marking it with a black “X.” Please do not accept any tokens punched with a hole, printed with a black “X,” or with magnets attached to one side, as they have no cash value. As of 2013, we have retired our pre-2008 issued tokens. Credit/debit tokens that do not have faces of local food heroes on them no longer have any cash value. Additionally, only Market Umbrella issued tokens will be accepted for reimbursement.
III. Limitation of Liability
Market Umbrella is in no way responsible for the vendor’s, business’, or individual’s failure to pay taxes or otherwise comply with local, state, or federal regulations and laws. It is the sole responsibility of each and every vendor, business, or individual to comply with all applicable regulations and laws.
All authorized vendors participating in the Crescent City Farmers Market shall be individually and severally responsible to Market Umbrella, the Crescent City Farmers Market, its board, officers, members, and volunteers for any loss or damage that may occur as a result of the vendors' participation and payment in the markets sponsored by Market Umbrella, or that of its representatives, agents, and employees. All vendors hereby agree to indemnify and hold Market Umbrella harmless from any loss, cost, damages, and other expenses, including attorneys' fees, suffered or incurred by Market Umbrella by reason of the vendors' failure to pay taxes or otherwise comply with local, state, or federal regulations and laws.
Tokens and Special Programs Policies updated July, 2018
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.