Groundbreaking Survey of Farmers Markets & Nutrition Programs Begins Today
The following article comes from our good friends at the Famers Market Coalition:
Today, January 3rd, USDA Food and Nutrition Service launched an unprecedented national survey of farmers market managers and direct marketing farmers to understand how to expand farmers markets' participation in Federal Nutrition Programs. Approximately 3,000 Farmers Market Managers and Direct Marketing Farmers have been randomly selected to receive an invitation to take part in this survey, and will receive a letter in the mail this week. The survey can be completed either in English or Spanish, and includes markets and farmers who ARE participating in nutrition programs as well as those that ARE NOT. It's important to gain the perspective of both.
As FMC reported in an email before the holiday, SNAP redemptions at farmers markets increased by more than $4 million between 2010 and 2011. This accounts for .016% of the $71 billion in food purchased with SNAP benefits in 2011. Why not more? This USDA research aims to find out, and help inform decisions at USDA about the best ways to support SNAP in farmers markets in the long-term. FMC is doing its part by providing a state-by-state breakdown of SNAP redemption trends coming soon in our Winter edition of the market beet newsletter. But we know numbers are only one part of the story.
If you received an invitation from FNS to take part in this survey, we encourage you to please complete either the Farmers Market Manager Survey OR the Direct Marketing Farmer Survey (whichever pertains to you) and mail it in the postage paid envelope. Invited participants can also access the survey by clicking here.
Please, take this survey now, regardless of your participation in Federal Nutrition Programs. Be assured that your anonymity will be preserved and responses will be kept entirely confidential.
Our collective understanding of factors that influence farmers markets and direct marketing farmers to participate or not participate in federal nutrition programs is dependent on your completion of the survey.
Send technical or operational questions about the FM Nutrition Assistance Survey to FMsurveysupport [at] westat [dot] com.
Send general questions about the FM Nutrition Assistance Survey to snap-FMstudies [at] fns [dot] usda [dot] gov.
Every day, we witness our members' dedication and innovation in making their farmers market communities more diverse, including strategies to ensure markets are accessible to families and individual of all income levels. If your market receives one of the surveys being mailed today, we encourage you to respond thoughtfully and accurately. We hope you are as excited as we are about USDA's commitment to better understanding the characteristics, logistics, opportunities, and challenges of operating federal nutrition programs.
Visit the Farmers Market Coalition web site.