Advancing Ideas for Farmers Market Incentives
Barriers, Strategies, and Agency Perceptions from Market Managers
Florida’s Fresh Access Bucks program provides incentives to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program beneficiaries to redeem fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at select farmers markets. Policy-makers and practitioners designed the program to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for limited-resource families while stimulating the local economy by supporting purchases from local farmers. While evidence suggests that related incentive programs improve access to nutritious food, there is currently little research regarding farmers market managers’ perspectives and experiences regarding program adoption and use, despite the critical role played by managers in administering the program. Using data collected from semistructured phone interviews with market managers, we applied a component of the Integrated Behavioral Model to explore the barriers managers face in engaging with limited-resource consumers at their markets through the Fresh Access Bucks program. Additionally, we explored managers’ perceptions of their ability to administer and market the program effectively through strategic interventions. Results indicate that market managers’ perception of their ability to administer the program was hindered by the following external environmental factors: bureaucratic limitations; availability of locally eligible producers and growers; organizational structure and funding support; and transportation and physical access. The following strategic efforts influenced manager perceptions of their ability to administer the program: risk-taking and experimentation; loyalty, trust, and relationship-building with vendors; cultivating market experiences; and strategic coordination with partner organizations. These findings have implications for improving outcomes for similar nutrition incentive initiatives at farmers markets.
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