Being an EBT-receptant has open my mind in further exploring possibilities on how to survive using this one piece of plastic. While I am weary of this country, if given the opportunity, I’ll never turn down the resources given to me as I am grateful to come by them In the first place. 

Part of Geecheegreenhouse is to share these sort of findings in hopes other individuals and families lead healthier, balanced lives. Sure we are not able to change everything, but we the people can turn rocks into gems, then start selling (lol!] 

Holistic Living for a family of 4 

The fourth living individual is our small dog btw. 

The journey to holistic living varies from state down to county. Living in the North East, I’ve faced some challenges that pushes my ideals to the test in further exploring other possibilities of living through the resources available to me. For example in Atlanta, Georgia we can purchase our herbs EBT and there’s herbal stores everywhere. Out here in Connecticut, you have to visit smaller towns that are over an hour away to get those. 

So in the end it took some planning and strategical actions in creating multiple ways of using my EBT to support our households lifestyle. 

Reasons are, 

  • Its cost effective + multifunctional  
  • Ability to shop essentials on the low seasonally 
  • Reduces my carbon foot-print
  • Connects our souls to the Divine
  • Healthier + sustainable for our home

Not to mention it enhanced my creativivity which connects to longevity and freedom. Navigating through life has not only helped my mental state but gave me inspirational lessons to further my children’s growth to teach them how to adapt to their surroundings, 

So lets dive in. Ready to hear? Good. 

 EBT multifunctional uses

Body Care

In the midst of skin and hair product shortages, there are still some gems left on the food shelves for individuals to use for external long term care.

 The importance of skin maintainence is vital for the proper production of vitamin D as well as maintaining the integrity of our skin to offset the harsh side effects of the sun. Our EBT can be used to purchase cooling adjectives for healing treatments by smoothing sun or food damaged related skin symptoms. Grounded oatmeal, fresh aloe Vera gel, raw honey, and herbs to permanently herbal balms and butters can in fact be bought with EBT. 

With coily and curly hair, it seem like before the pandemic the packaging was already smaller. Now it’s smaller, expensive, and barely on the shelves. Seed oils and animal fats ( A journey I am currently partaking in) are highly prized by the indigenous traditions around the world. Combine your fats with herbs and you’ve got yourself a herbal concoction for hair growth. Don’t forget you can use these same herbs for herbal hair waters! 

The other fact is I have been using these oils for infant skin care as well. Understanding basic plant chemistry is not too bad to have considering I ended up learning how to use them for sun, mosquito, and diaper preventative purposes.


The “spices” on  isle 8 isn’t only for creating flavorful meals, but hold anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, DNA + RNA repairing, organ regenerative, brain stimulator properties amongst many other benefits. The quality and source matters, but to be able to purchase without using real cash is plus.

Fennel, basil, cardomom, Ceylon cinnamon, ginger, thyme, and more hold many uses in the home to reverse bodily injuries. These herbs can be used for herbal oils, waters, baths, or repellents. After living in different states I’ve experienced that not all herbal stores accept EBT! Therefore it’s imperative that we start advocating for them to do so. Until then, shopping in commercial stores may be some of your only options.

Home Maintenance

Throughout the Caribbean this is nothing new. Actually throughout the Afro diaspora, the Peoples commonly used citrusy vinegars to aromatic herbal concoctions to spritz and cleanse the countertops, bathrooms, floors, and refresh clothes. Amongst the indigenous peoples, we’d use certain plants that are high in a soapy substance called ‘saponins’. They would be found in unwashed whole grains, legumes, and herbs. If you near herbal stores, ask the employees if they accept EBT for them.  

Dried herbs can replace essential oils. I like this as it helps me reduce my carbon foot print and can sustainably discard after its used. The dried herbs combined with vinegar allows the phytochemicals to transition into the cleansing mix which offers its plant oils and anti-microbial properties to rid of harmful organisms. 

Spiritualism & Religion

Whether you’re new or an OG in the game, finding the correct ingredients and spiritual tools can be tough to start with. But luckily there are some gems waiting to be picked with our SNAP. Salt cleanses are popular ones. Spiritual baths are another. Ritualistic sacrifices to bringing yourself Holy and closer to the Most High (Or Allah) can all be further practiced using your EBT. 

Another benefit is I get to recycle the glass and needed materials to organize and manifest in my small space. For now, I use my itty bitty closet for meditations and deep prayer to bring me closer to myself and Creator. So many of us dive into our spiritual journey and spend hundreds on Items and at risk of receiving something fake. Hopefully this opens ones eyes in the various opportunities we can use our card to enhance our gifts, or religion to bring peace, wealth, and one-ness to the Divine. 

DIY Sensory Toys, Games, + Activities 

Creativity is highly encouraged as it not only can be designed for children but adults as well who want to indulge in art and relaxation. Using food as dyes or paints, decorating glass jars, creating edible play dough, or even sensory toys for infants using beans, corn for the noise and vibration are cheap, mindful, and creative ways to build bonding time for yourself or family. 

I been perfecting my edible play dough using coconut flour since it is a cheaper gluten free flour I can use. Being able to create small sensory items with food has saved us money and allow us to further explore healthier and conscious options in starting our small unschooling, schooling curriculum. 

Animal Care

There’s some variables to consider but maybe there are other families or homes similar to our structure. Depending on the animal you have some animals can thrive on thoughtfully source Whole Foods. 

We don’t buy dog food anymore instead we make it. We decided to make this change due to the fact most dog food on the market is not clean plus the good brands are hella expensive for small bags. So we’ve made our own. The plus side is our little Tink is chihuahua mixed, so we don’t need to buy so much using Whole Foods. 


In case you did not know, EBT cardholders can purchase potted food plants and seeds to encourage gardening! If you can your hands on some heirloom or indigenous foods, you can save the seeds and grow them too.

This ongoing summer has been a ride as we have been shopping at local farmers markets every week. We indeed shop for seeds when we can and recently stumbled upon and Afro indigenous women who sold heirloom, organic seeds in Hartford, Connecticut. Im personally excited as we had recently purchased a small bed in a community garden currently growing herbs and some fruits. It’s just another step to being closer to the Divine and away from Western commercial food shopping. 

Local Discounts

Some of the best perks is discounts during the hot summer! Don’t forget to check your local and state programs, events, and activities as some may offer discounted prices for EBT (sometimes Medicaid) cardholders. Shoot, sometimes its even free.

We have yet to go but I have been hearing about this kid’s museum called Kidscity a Children Museum that offers low discounts for EBT holders.  Th goal is to visit before the summer is over with though. Another thing I wanted to point out is the country-wise benefits. I noticed on Walmart I was able to order groceries without having to add my debit card. We get discounts off Amazon prime, and Instacart I have yet to see what other offers are out there beyond this state. 

Since being a stay at home, first time mother. I have been exhausting all resources I am eligble for that coexists with my lifestyle. The freedom to live is very close... I can visualize it, and so I’m using my knowledge to make them true. And it shall happen to you too. 

What are your favorite ways to use EBT?

About the Author 

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