Sun Farm Oysters becomes Block Island’s first SNAP retailer

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 6:15pm

Chris Warfel has been trying to bring the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to Block Island for a while now, and he has made it happen. Warfel, the owner of Sun Farm Oysters, has been approved to be a SNAP-approved retail vendor.

Participants in the program, which is more conventionally known as food stamps, will soon be able to use their SNAP cards to purchase oysters at Warfel’s roadside stand. Warfel said he is waiting for the technology to arrive that will enable him to process the SNAP purchases.

“It occurred to me, after asking the town council to review the Block Island Grocery’s lack of SNAP, to look at the procedures and to see how daunting it was. I did a lot of research and did not find that it was,” Warfel said. “I realized I could apply for SNAP as a farmer.”

He was motivated, in part, by the impact the current pandemic is having on the local economy and island residents who may either be out of a job or underemployed at the present time.

“It’s important that people who are taxpayers to have access to the program they pay into,” said Warfel “It’s important that if you could provide SNAP that you should.” He said he is currently the only SNAP retail provider on the island.

“It’s important that people on Block Island have access to SNAP on Block Island,” Warfel said. “Anybody that can be a SNAP provider should really look into that.”