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Partners in Spokane designed a farmers market
specifically for low income families. They strategically
thought about the location, the partnership with growers and nutrition educators, pricing, payment options and even scheduling.
The project is funded by a grant from USDA to the Washington State WIC Program.The program creates sustainable partnerships between WIC agencies and food system partners in 12 communities.
Location: The Community Roots Market is located on the grounds of the North East Community Center -- an ideal site because the Center is the regional service location for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the WIC program, as well as the distribution point for Senior Nutrition Vouchers.
Payment Options: During the months of July though October, the farm stand was equipped to accept EBT cards (Electronic Benefits Transfer for the SNAP program) and farmers market vouchers from WIC and senior clients.
Partnership with Growers and Nutrition Educators: To supply the farm stand, Natalie Tauzin, the Physical Activity & Nutrition Health Program Specialist for the Spokane Regional Health District, coordinated closely with a nearby farm called p.e.a.c.h., for People for Environmental Action and Community Health. The p.e.a.c.h. farmer, Brightspirit, worked with other growers to ensure that the farm stand sold the most popular fruits and vegetables at the lowest possible price. Tauzin coordinated with Washington State University Extension to offer weekly cooking demonstrations to teach customers how to prepare and serve vegetables.
Scheduling: By changing the hours of the farmers market to link more closely to when nearby schools let out, partners are hoping that children and their parents make the farm stand part of their weekly shopping.
Evaluation: In the past, only 50% of WIC families used their vouchers. The project hopes to to increase voucher redemption rates and fruit and vegetables consumption rates.
Spokane Regional Health District, p.e.a.c.h. farm, WSU Extension SNAP-Ed.
Featured: Winter 2010
Low income families