Vendors and farmers at Cleveland's West Side Market and other markets across the state are receiving some technological help.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, announced at the West Side Market a federal grant aimed at helping those vendors accept credit, debit and EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards at their stands. The grant, for $161,359, will be implemented by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. Vendors can apply directly to the department for grant money, up to $1,100.

As one of two financing options, vendors can purchase a wireless device and be reimbursed for the cost of the device, any activation fee and one month of wireless service. Otherwise, vendors can receive $500 if they lease the device; the money goes toward the cost of the lease, any activation fee and at least three months of service.

“The market is stronger than ever, but many of the farmers and vendors could expand their business with new technology,” Sen. Brown said. “The reality is we're a society that relies more and more on credit and debit cards, and less so on cash.”

Sen. Brown made the announcement with Audrey Rowe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's food and nutrition service administrator, and David Divoky, a West Side Market vendor.

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