Updated Information Regarding Novo Dia Group Shutdown 

I have a lot to tell you about my trip to Denver for the Slow Food Nations event, and to share ideas and research about vendor development at markets, and talk about the upcoming Direct Marketing Ag Summit in mid September, but instead of that, this post will focus on the immediate crisis in front of us: the recent news about the shutdown of the Novo Dia Group, which effectively will cease card processing for 1700 farmers markets and farmers during (most of the) country’s busiest market season. Since the news broke, my FMC colleagues have worked day and night listening to market leaders, asking questions of all of the players involved, explaining the problem to media and to our elected officials and strategizing with markets, farmers and partners about solutions. Now there is a single place to find all of the information and FMC will continue to update that page with the latest information.

Source: Information Regarding Novo Dia Group Shutdown – Farmers Market Coalition


As we’re scrambling to fix health care, food stamps are quietly paying off.

I look forward to reading the report in total but I think any market community knows that focusing on healthy food is a very good indicator of the willingness for behavior change. Of course, I’d be interested to see how many participated in incentive campaigns and/or shopped at farmers markets with their SNAP dollars.

Berkowitz’s study looked at roughly 4,400 low-income adults, about 40% of whom were on SNAP. When Berkowitz’s team compared how much the average person in each group was spending on health care, they found the SNAP group spent about $1,400 less per year.

For comparison, the average single adult on SNAP receives about $1,500 a year in benefits.

A total of 4447 participants (2567 women and 1880 men) were enrolled in the study, mean (SE) age, 42.7 (0.5) years; 1889 were SNAP participants, and 2558 were not. Compared with other low-income adults, SNAP participants were younger (mean [SE] age, 40.3 [0.6] vs 44.1 [0.7] years), more likely to have public insurance or be uninsured (84.9% vs 67.7%), and more likely to be disabled (24.2% vs 10.6%) (P < .001 for all). In age- and gender-adjusted models, health care expenditures between those who did and did not participate in SNAP were similar (difference, $34; 95% CI, −$1097 to $1165). In fully adjusted models, SNAP was associated with lower estimated annual health care expenditures (−$1409; 95% CI, −$2694 to −$125). Sensitivity analyses were consistent with these results, also indicating that SNAP participation was associated with significantly lower estimated expenditures.

Source: story

In case anyone needs convincing:

Diet is the second highest risk factor for early death after smoking. Other high risks are high blood glucose which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high body mass index (BMI) which is a measure of obesity, and high total cholesterol. All of these can be related to eating the wrong foods, although there are also other causes.

FINI report, Year 1

In Year one, FINI supported incentive programs at almost 1,000 farmers markets, representing 4,000 direct marketing farmers in 27 states. These farmers market programs alone generated almost $8 million in SNAP and incentive sales spent on produce. Program evaluation conducted by grantees indicated uniformly high redemption rates, strong support for the program among stakeholders, and a great deal of collaboration from both public agencies and private program partners. These collaborations were particularly important in conducting outreach to SNAP recipients.



6 Things Paul Ryan Doesn’t Understand About Poverty (But I Didn’t, Either) 

Karen Weese is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Salon, Dow Jones Investment Advisor, the Cincinnati Enquirer, Everyday Family, and other publications.

There are many prescriptions for combating poverty, but we can’t even get started unless we first examine our assumptions, and take the time to envision what the world feels like for families living in poverty every day.


(Webinar) Success with SNAP: Equipment and Outreach Essentials for SNAP Programs

PLEASE NOTE THE NEW TIME: Thursday, February 2, 2017, at 2 PM EST, 1 PM CST, 11 AM PST.

More than 6,000 farmers markets and farmers across the country now accept SNAP. When farmers markets accept SNAP, it helps increase revenue for small and beginning farmers, while making it possible for low-income families to access healthy, affordable food: the ultimate win-win. To assist markets with this strategy, Farmers Market Coalition will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, February 2, 2017, at 2 PM EST, 1 PM CST, 11 AM PST.

Join the webinar, as we discuss equipment and outreach essentials for SNAP Programs at your farmers market. We will provide information on how FMC’s Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program can help you accept (or continue to accept) SNAP benefits at your market, and highlight successful outreach initiatives to attract and retain SNAP customers.

Click here to register and contact info@farmersmarketcoaltion.org with questions or for more information. A recording of the webinar will also be available to view online for those who are interested but unable to attend on January 26.

2016 SNAP retailer report

 This is from the 2016 SNAP retailer data report from USDA/FNS, found here. This is the kind of data that we need to pore over and gather data at the market level to compare and contrast.
Some quick data and my thoughts:
• 53 percent of the 366,972 households that shopped at a farmers’ market or direct marketing farmer made one purchase; another 18 percent made two purchases; and 29 percent made three or more purchases within the year. These percentages have remained relatively unchanged over the last five fiscal years.
So 53% only made a single purchase using their benefit card… This may correspond with the analysis from my 2013 VT Market Currency report that markets were then using a whole bunch of money and time to attract shoppers who are either at the end of their time on the SNAP rolls, or are new to SNAP and need more assistance in using their benefits, or that markets have not yet made enough changes to be welcoming for that shopping base to use their benefits at markets. So this data should be crunched with what part of that 53% has been enrolled on SNAP for ___ period of months.
The other way we should analyze this would be compared to our cash/credit shoppers too, which means we need to collect that data too in the same way. That is the kind of comparison that would tell us what the best initial strategy is for SNAP shoppers.

• In fiscal year 2016, program recipients made 1,095,107 purchases at farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers nationwide. The average purchase amount was $18.60.

Almost 1.1 million purchases has a nice ring to it. Of course so does 10 million.That would be a great goal for the market field: 10,000,000 purchases at markets and with dmfs in a single FY by 2019. Sometimes the obsession over only measuring total dollar amount spent limits the strategy for increasing actual uses of benefits in ways that are more useful in retail terms…

•  366,972 SNAP households made at least one purchase at a farmers’ market in fiscal year 2016. Households shopping at farmers’ markets spent $55.51 on average over the course of the year.

 • More SNAP benefits were redeemed at farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers in fiscal year 2016 during August than any other month of the year.


Some of this data needs to be released per state, as the August spike is likely not true in the Southern states. It’d also be great to see here which week or days of the month it spiked as well.