Farmers markets fill many roles in U.S. communities: They serve as a neighborhood hub, put farmers face-to-face with consumers and connect shoppers with fresh locally, grown produce.

Over the past six years, many markets have also played another larger role: providing fruits and vegetables to low-income Americans via the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

And many markets are going the extra mile to give such consumers more bang for their bucks.

Run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, SNAP is a nutrition assistance program through which low-income families can receive benefits. Those benefits can be used to purchase food at SNAP-authorized retailers, such as grocery stores and farmers markets.

To continue reading this story from the February 2015 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.