USDA report: Nutrition Assistance in Farmers Markets: Understanding Current Operations

I have begun to take notes on the 799 page report released by the USDA last week (authored by Westat) on nutrition assistance programs managed at markets/with direct marketing farmers.
This (FM Ops) is the first completed phase of the 3 phases of research. Next will be a FM Client Survey, followed by a survey of organizations administering SNAP at farmers markets.

First, the data collection info:

2 parts to this research of FM Ops

First, 9 markets were interviewed in depth, picked by FNs based on their FNS regions and level of population below poverty level:
Eastern Market, Detroit MI
Peachtree Road, Atlanta GA
South Boston, Boston MA
Clark Park, Philadelphia PA
Market On The Square, Mobile AL
Fort Pierce, Ft. Pierce FL
Wytheville, Wytheville VA
Sitka, Sitka AK
Overland Park, Overland Park KS

Second, 1682 farmers markets and 570 direct marketing farmers were surveyed organized in 4 groups:
1. Those that were SNAP authorized and had redemptions between July 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011-77.4% (FMS) and 68.2% (DMFs) response among this group

2. Those that were SNAP authorized but had no redemptions between July 1,2010 and August 31, 2011- 69% (FMs) and 65% (DMFs) response among this group.

3. Those that were SNAP authorized and had redemptions between July 1, 2007 and August 31, 2010, but had no redemptions after August 31, 2010 – 56.8 % (FMs) response among this group -FNS did not differentiate FMs from DMFs until 2010 so there is no individual data on DMFs.

4. Never SNAP authorized- 51.8% (FMs) response among this group. Same issue as above in tracking DMFs so no numbers for that group in this stratum.

Westat also conducted focus groups with 2 markets in DC and Maryland, with some fascinating input from the participants:
“They don’t all make you feel that way, but sometimes you come across one that makes you feel a little bit like, ‘Oh, another EBT card.’ I don’t think they all do it and it’s not every time, but few and far between. They make you feel a little embarrassed, like a second class citizen.”

Much more to come…..

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