- Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, focus group, mentoring, networking, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, marketing management
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, public participation, community services, employment opportunities, community development
A change in technology from paper food stamps to an electronic debit card inadvertently excludes vendors at farmers’ markets from accepting food stamp benefits; and limits the accessibility to local and fresh farm products by customers who subsist on limited resources. The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) fills some of the void that was created by the change. By accepting food stamp benefits, however, customers can exercise their purchasing power from a broad variety of food groups and the benefits are available to all income eligible households rather than a subset of the low-income population. An intervention project to pilot the use of food stamp benefits at farmers’ markets in New Hampshire utilizes education, formative participatory research methods and post-intervention interviews with farmers to gain an understanding of the economic benefits that farmers derive from accepting food stamps. It necessarily incorporates formative research and onsite education with food stamp customers. The project employs a central kiosk system that eliminates the financial risk and lowers the burden of the food stamp transaction for the farmer without creating an undue burden on the customer. Market managers from 45 farmers’ markets in New Hampshire will be invited to attend a food stamp education workshop. Fifteen market managers will attend the workshop and 3 pilot markets will be recruited from this group. Market managers and farmers from the pilot markets will attend focus groups, food stamp trainings, debriefings and post-intervention interviews to determine the success of the outcome of increasing revenues at the farmers’ markets by accepting food stamps.
Performance targets from proposal:
Of the 150 farmers who sell food at New Hampshire farmers’ markets, 30 farmers from three pilot markets will within three years collectively increase their revenue by accepting food stamp benefits. The goals of this project are consistent with the Northeast SARE outcome statement because they increase the profitability for a diverse set of farmers; and will have a positive influence on their communities by increasing the accessibility of healthful products to an additional segment of customers.