Local farmers’ markets could get a boost from free technology being offered by a new federal program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering free card readers, transaction processing, and wireless data plans to farmers who want to sell to families on public assistance.
Jolene Cook is with the Great Basin Community Food Co-op in Reno. She says it will help smaller communities like hers that are trying to support struggling farmers.
“It’s a hard trade and its only decreasing and people that can do it and that are doing it, and so anything that helps farmers succeed is something that we are in support of."
~Jolene Cook, Great Basin Food Co-op
Public assistance sales account for about 1 percent of the co-ops annual revenue or about $25,000 dollars.
“I was super excited when I heard about the possibility of farmers being able to accept food stamps for two reasons basically one because it is helping the local farmer with increased sales and increase in the number of people who can buy from them and second it is helping people buy foods that are more nutritious that actually grow in the ground," she says.
Record summer heat has increased fire risk in California and the Western U.S. as drought conditions expand.
In the fourth year of drought in California, sales and use of "safe and sane" fireworks are restricted in some areas, allowed in others.
UPDATED: 6:45 p.m. - Containment has grown to 29 percent, and acreage burned to 17,622. Crews on the Washington Fire, three miles south of Markleeville, took advantage of light winds to increase containment.
UPDATE 6:40 P.M. - Firefighters continue to make progress on the Washington Fire. As of late Thursday afternoon, containment stood at 15 percent. Crews remain focused on keeping the fire away from the community of Markleeville.
The U.S. Drought Monitor report released June 18 shows drought increased slightly in California and improved in Nevada.