Farmers’ market utilization among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in New Orleans, Louisiana: Preliminary findings


Nuss, H.; Skizim, M.; Afaneh, H.; Miele, L.; Sothern, M.


Objective: Farmers' markets are increasingly being promoted as a means to provide fresh produce to poor and underserved communities. However, farmers' market (FM) use remains low among low-income patrons. The purpose of our study was to examine FM awareness and use, grocery shopping behaviors, and internet use among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Design: A descriptive analysis of preliminary data was performed to evaluate quantitative baseline data among SNAP recipients between June and August 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana (N=51). Data were collected via a 42-item online survey that included demographics, internet use, FM awareness and use, health information seeking behaviors and fruit and vegetable purchasing behaviors. Results: Less than half of the survey respondents (n=24) had ever been to a FM. Local grocery stores and Wal-Mart were most used for purchasing fruits and vegetables (88% and 84%, respectively). The most common sources of healthy eating information were Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the internet, frequently accessed via smartphones. More than 80% of participants were not aware that local FMs accepted electronic benefit transfer payments as a form of payment. Conclusion: These results support the incorporation of promotional methodology that combines internet-based mobile technology and existing services (eg, WIC) as a viable strategy to improve farmers' market use among low-income populations. As most participants were not aware that participating FMs accept electronic benefit transfer payments, this fact should be emphasized in promotional material.


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