Evaluating Barriers to SNAP/EBT Acceptance in Farmers Markets: A Survey of Farmers

  • Krysta Kellegrew Auburn University
  • Alicia Powers Auburn University
  • Barb Struempler Auburn University
  • Sondra Parmer Auburn University
  • Katie Funderburk Auburn University
  • Jamie Griffin Auburn University
  • Cecilia Tran Emory University Hospitals
Keywords: Farmers, Farmers Markets, SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Barriers, EBT, Electronic Benefits Transfer, FMA, Farmers Market Authority, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Abstract

Farmers play a critical role in increasing access to and affordability of fruits and vegetables in low-income communities by accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers markets. However, only 40% of farmers markets nationally accept SNAP benefits. This study evaluates barriers farmers perceive in accepting SNAP in farmers markets. We recruited 134 farmers using convenience sampling from six pre-season regional growers meetings hosted in Alabama; 92 farmers met inclusion criteria and completed the anonymous, 51-question survey. The survey measured demographics, perceived barriers and promotional opportunities within constructs of the Social Ecological Model (SEM). We used descriptive statistics to summarize char­acteristics, and chi-square, Mann-Whitney U and t-tests to analyze differences in characteristics between those farmers who accept SNAP and those who do not. The most frequently cited barriers to SNAP acceptance included lack of internet access, increased burden for processing payments, increased need for bookkeeping, limited availability of information about the application process and payment system, limited support from the market for completing the application, a small customer base and limited number of SNAP clien­tele. Comparative analyses revealed statistically sig­nificant differences in demographics and perceived barriers between those who accept SNAP and those who do not. Findings from this study pro­vide a more in-depth understanding of challenges farmers face in accepting SNAP. These can be addressed through education, policy, systems and environmental solutions at various levels of the SEM to overcome barriers to SNAP acceptance, ultimately increasing access to and affordability of fruits and vegetables for low-income communities.

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Author Biographies

Krysta Kellegrew, Auburn University
PSE Assistant, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 206 Duncan Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849
Alicia Powers, Auburn University
Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 206 Duncan Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849
Barb Struempler, Auburn University
Program Leader for Nutrition Programs (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program-EFNEP and SNAP-Ed), Auburn University
Sondra Parmer, Auburn University
Program Coordinator, Auburn University
Katie Funderburk, Auburn University
Nutrition and Evaluation Coordinator, Auburn University
Jamie Griffin, Auburn University
Public Health Specialist, Auburn University
Cecilia Tran, Emory University Hospitals
Emory University Hospital Dietetic Intern, Emory University Hospitals; 1364 Clifton Road, NE; Atlanta, GA 30322
Published
2018-03-23
How to Cite
Kellegrew, K., Powers, A., Struempler, B., Parmer, S., Funderburk, K., Griffin, J., & Tran, C. (2018). Evaluating Barriers to SNAP/EBT Acceptance in Farmers Markets: A Survey of Farmers. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(1), 133-146. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2018.081.010