Are stores making bank off food stamps?

Mother Jones • Apr. 22, 2014

A longer version of this piece appeared on; all published in conjunction with the Food and Environmental Reporting Network.


How much of Walmart’s revenue comes from its shoppers’ food stamps? The store isn’t required to say. But a January Court of Appeals ruling could change that. If the unanimous decision by the 8th Circuit’s panel of three judges holds, the United States Department of Agriculture will be required to release data indicating exactly how much of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s $80 billion in annual sales is paid to specific retailers and individual stores.

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Hey USA: Thanks for paying for my SNAP. Now:Where’s my thanks 4 paying 4 your road-water-phone-air-school-retirement?

Interestingly, after publishing this piece on GourmetLive about using food stamps for a year, I’ve gotten a smattering of email from folks whose response can be summed up by this particular email I received on Saturday: email: textarea: Hope you enjoyed eating the food that I payed for! Submit: Submit I’ll leave aside any … Read more

how did I miss this? 1/4 of party stores w/SNAP in Detroit sell expired meat?

In the hubbub of book publication and tour, I nearly missed this survey of Detroit corner stores holding both liquor licenses and SNAP certification. Done by the Restaurant Opportinities Center Detroit (full disclosure: They are sponsoring a book event with me on Thursday) in conjunction with Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D4) and Metropolitan Organizing … Read more

Putting the Cart Before the Market

City Limits Weekly • Dec. 24, 2007

Bushwick – > City officials last week announced that they would be boosting the number of street food permits by 1,500, with a healthy catch: The new food carts will have to sell fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods where residents consume them at low rates.

Going by the name “Green Carts,” the project is being backed by the city’s Food Policy Task Force, Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Permits will be good year-round, and could be available as early as summer 2008, with 500 going to the Bronx and Brooklyn each, and the remainder divvied up between the other boroughs. Carts would be required to sell only unprocessed fruits and vegetables, or pre-packaged fresh produce that is already peeled or cut.

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State Hits Record Welfare Low — With a Catch

Daily Intelligencer • April 18, 2007

New York State has a new record-low welfare enrollment. There were 541,503 on the dole at the end of February, the lowest number since 1963, as state welfare officials announced neatly in sync with tax day. While the city has been posting similar trends for the last several years, this marks the state’s first big milestone. The state secret? In addition to benefiting from welfare shrinkage in the five boroughs — the city makes up the bulk of the state’s welfare cases — state officials are pointing to $665 million paid out via the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which is available to working poor filing federal or state taxes, plus a new state credit for low-income, non-custodial parents up-to-date on child support.

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New Directions Seen in Aid to City’s Poor

City Limits • Sept. 5, 2006

City officials are considering a move away from the strictest elements of New York’s poverty policy over the last decade, most notably by creating easier procedures for the poor to receive government aid and considering new ways to help needy people living above the federally-defined poverty threshold.

The Mayor’s Commission for Economic Opportunity drew attention last week after an internal memo detailing its likely recommendations, including targeting resources toward three specific demographic groups, was written about in the New York Times. But a closer look suggests that broader shifts are afoot.

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