Starting Tuesday, those receiving government assistance to purchase food could use that money to buy fresh produce from four farmers markets on Oahu.
Eurea Batista shopped for fresh and healthy food Tuesday, just like she does every week at the Waipahu People's Open Market.
It's one of four city markets now accepting SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and EBT, Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.
The department of parks and recreation made the switch after vendors shared concerns about the lengthy process of accepting payments from these programs.
In the past, vendors had to make a call to verify funds before they could sell their produce.
"The vendors were sometimes so busy, they didn't have time to check the accounts, (so) they take the customer's word for it," said Kendrick Mun, of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Mun said that resulted in a loss of money and customers.
It's an experience Waianae Farm vendors know firsthand.
"Sometimes people, they buy like $10 or $15. By then we call them in, they only have $5 so we lose like $10," said vendor Roderick Valdez.
The new process will work to solve that problem. City officials said it's as easy as swiping a card and getting tokens in return.
Newly issued tokens are worth $1 each and can be used anywhere at the farmers market.
Vendors are reimbursed for the tokens within the next couple weeks.
The new program is expected to be welcome news to the one out of every seven Hawaii residents who put food on the table using government assistance, according to a report by Hawaii Appleseed.
"We thought this is a good way to have the customers come to the open market and buy fresh produce," Mun said.
The four city markets that accept the SNAP and EBT cards include Wahiawa and Waipahu District Parks on Tuesdays, Ewa Beach Community Park on Fridays and Kalakaua District Park on Saturdays.