Tech Shakeups Disrupt Food Stamp Services in Farmers Markets

Because mobile devices were often too expensive for markets to afford, the USDA began a program in 2012 to provide free devices, including tablets and card readers, to farmers’ markets. The agency outsources the management of that program through a bidding process. Until last November, that contract was awarded to the Farmers Market Coalition, which hired tech companies, including Novo Dia, to develop the necessary software and equipment. But in March, a new $1.3 million management contract was awarded to a Virginia-based tech company Financial Transaction Management (FTM). FTM had been formed just two months previously and reports only one employee. While Novo Dia stated that they had hoped to continue as a service provider under the new management, it seems that FTM either chose not to work with Novo Dia, or was unresponsive to Novo Dia’s request to bid. Without the government contract to sustain it, Novo Dia President Josh Wiles announced they would be shutting down their SNAP processing system.

Once Novo Dia closes up shop, the 1,700 farmers’ markets outfitted specifically for Novo Dia’s system will be unable to take EBT cards, a problem that could leave thousands of farmers and hundreds of thousands of low-income customers in a lurch. Markets must now wait for FTM to roll out its new devices and software, a process rumored to take up to six months.

(Source)

Okay, what's missing form this important article?

Read that again: " in March, a new $1.3 million management contract was awarded to a Virginia-based tech company Financial Transaction Management (FTM). FTM had been formed just two months previously and reports only one employee. While Novo Dia stated that they had hoped to continue as a service provider under the new management, it seems that FTM either chose not to work with Novo Dia, or was unresponsive to Novo Dia’s request to bid."

What's missing? Outright suspicion is missing in that the article doesn't even hint at it.

Look, so far, the Trump administration has been shown to be awarding government contracts to tiny, recent startups to do huge jobs. What's going on there? It needs investigating.

We saw the Trump administration float the idea of sending a box of questionable food to SNAP recipients and reducing the actual funds those recipients could then spend choosing their own food. Now, delivering food to some people makes perfect sense. Some people may need help in selecting food too for all sorts of reasons. However, if any of that is done so capitalists can make more money at the negative expense of the program and recipients, then it stinks!

So, the question is, who benefits by this SNAP mess concerning local farmers' markets?

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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