Square invests in NDG technology - Farmers Market Processing to Continue
January 30, 2019
The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs is grateful to partners who offered to step in and provide funding to continue SNAP processing at farmers markets across the country
Alexandria, VA (January 30, 2019) – The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) is grateful to the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHF), and in particular thanks David Sandman, President and CEO for the time he committed to the process and efforts he put forth to secure funding to keep the Novo Dia Group (NDG) platform working and avoid any interruption in service for processing payments at farmers markets. Although the funding will not be utilized to secure the platform, farmers and markets nationwide can appreciate that NYSHF would have been able to avert any crises of service shutdown in February had NDG not been able to obtain other resources.
The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) has confirmed that Novo Dia Group (NDG) will continue processing federal nutrition electronic benefits including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) utilizing the Mobile Market Plus application. With the announcement of Square investing in the NDG technology, the application and platform will both operate for the foreseeable future.
“Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership this summer, New York was able to ensure that there was no interruption in service for our SNAP recipients and for our farmers,”State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said. “We are pleased to see that the agreement paved the way for this now permanent solution between Novo Dia Group and Square, which will benefit tens of thousands of families in New York and across the country and our farmers who depend on farmers’ markets for sales.”
NAFMNP is intimately familiar with the challenges of the technology of federal benefits at farmers markets – the nonprofit was awarded the first USDA contract to develop mobile services for processing via farmers markets. This project began in 2013 and was known as MarketLink – with the long-term goal of developing technology that can adapt and provide a means to accept all federal nutrition benefit programs. This also includes incentive programs such as the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, or FINI; member states are utilizing NDG technology to process payments for these multi-million programs.
“We are extremely grateful to the New York State Health Foundation for their dedication to securing support and continuing the platform begun through our MarketLink program. Their efforts would have held off any immediate disruption of service,” says Rebecca Davidson, President of NAFMNP.
NAFMNP is a non-profit organization founded in 1992, with the mission of supporting producers who sell at farmers markets and increasing farmers market sales. This is accomplished through the support of federal nutrition benefits programs, provision of technical assistance, and programs aimed at improving the mechanisms for accepting all federal nutrition benefits, which encompass a variety of tender types. NAFMNP is the nation’s only organization that links States, the District of Columbia, Indian Tribal Organizations, Territories, local fruit and vegetable growers, and low-income families and seniors – all those who have a stake in USDA’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs and share this mission.
NAFMNP represents 45,000 farmers and 8,000 farmers markets across the country, and the announcement that Novo Dia Group (NDG) expected to close their processing platform used for SNAP, credit and debit would have directly affected many of these stakeholders. The NAFMNP Board of Directors were able to provide short-term emergency support to avoid any disruption in service in July-August of 2018, and then the State of New York was able to provide funding through February of 2019 to avoid any disruption in service. Since August, NAFMNP has been in discussions with other stakeholders willing to step in and purchase NDG’s platform in order to support farmers and markets throughout the country.
The MobileMarket+ Select application developed by NDG was a cornerstone of MarketLink, and NAFMNP still believes that this platform has the potential to be a successful solution since it is the only one with the ability to accept all tender types, works on 4G networks, and is a mobile device solution that works for farmers markets and farmers. Since the inception of the MarketLink program, more than $40 million in sales (SNAP, credit & debit) has been processed through the NDG app via farmers markets and accepted by small farmers.
“NAFMNP would like to thank Mr. Sandman for all of his work on this effort. We remain committed to working with USDA Food Nutrition Service and stakeholders across the country to continue benefits’ acceptance at farmers markets so that small farmers and farmers markets can maximize their sales, their customer base, and provide safe spaces for food access to welcome all of their community,” commented Phil Blalock, Executive Director for NAFMNP. The mobile solution remains a crucial solution for the future and a viable way for farmers markets to be able to accept federal nutrition benefits programs as authorized retailers.