You Can't Use Food Stamps Online. This Organic Grocer Is Trying To Change That
In an era where you can order pretty much anything online, from live ladybugs to bacon-scented soap, you'd think that you'd be able to use your food stamps online, too.
But, unfortunately, you can't. To use a food stamp, you have to be in-person at a brick-and-mortar retailer. And 23 million Americans live in food deserts—geographic locations without access to healthy foods.
As a whole, Americans are eating healthier now more than ever, but the diet divide between the rich and poor is growing larger and larger.
Online grocers could help solve that problem. Seventy-four percent of people living below the poverty line (over 33 million people) have access to the internet, whereas only 30 percent have access to a car. One in seven Americans is on food stamps—and they need to be able to use them online.
The company was founded in 2014 by Gunnar Lovelace, who grew up in a food-unstable household and decided that access to nutritious, sustainable food should be a right, not a privilege. Thrive Market customers pay $60 a year to be able to buy organic food at a wholesale price. Think of it as a an online Costco for the health-conscious. And for every membership sold, Thrive donates a membership to a low-income American family.
Gunnar told The New York Times that they've been in talks with the USDA for over a year and a half on this issue, but have made no progress.
"We know they’re going to do this eventually, but we want to show the support there is for making this happen and happen quickly," he said. Hunger is real and it is urgent.
If you want to make it happen quickly, too, you can sign their petition here.
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