Promoting Nutrition to SNAP Participants
At California Farmers’ Markets
Updated September 2010
Why Promote Your Farmers’ Market and Nutrition to SNAP Participants?
Neighborhoods with large populations of SNAP (food stamp) eligible families tend to
have very limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their communities, creating
higher concentrations of health problems such as diabetes and obesity. Farmers’ Markets
are a powerful means to counteract this alarming pattern, and are often the only source of
fresh healthy food in a neighborhood, which is the reason it is so important that Farmers’
Markets that accept EBT actively promote to SNAP participants and increase awareness
of the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in their own communities.
About the Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market EBT Project
The Farmers’ Market EBT Project, run through the Ecology Center in Berkeley, funded
in part by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, provides technical
assistance to California Farmers’ Markets implementing and promoting EBT access.
Any farmers’ markets in California that do not yet accept EBT are eligible for this
assistance. We will work with you to set up systems for EBT access using free wireless
equipment (provided by CDSS) and scrip (usually tokens. which we will provide for you
at no cost). We provide consultation and assistance with setting up staffing, accounting,
vendor training and customer information systems, as well as help with promoting your
market’s EBT access to your community.
Our project can also assist you in taking many of the steps outlined below to promote
nutrition at your Farmers’ Market. To find out more about our work, please contact us at
email@example.com or visit our website: www.ecologycenter.org/ebt
Part 1: Promoting Nutrition at the Farmers’ Market
There are many ways to promote nutrition at your Farmers’ Market, including:
- Tastings and Cooking Demos
- Brochures, Free Nutrition Education Info and Free Recipes
- Onsite signage
- Nutrition focused prizes and giveaways
- Monthly Produce Observances
- Market tours
- Culturally appropriate foods at the Farmers’ Market
- Find nutrition educators with same language & cultural background
Tastings and Cooking Demos
Provide free tasting events of a fresh fruit in season, such as Strawberry Tastings or
Tomato Tastings. Conduct a simple cooking demo with a free taste, such as salsa or
cooked greens. Provide a recipe folks can take home. Free tastes are an effective means to get people to approach your booth and see any nutrition education materials or EBT
redemption information you may have available.
Other Special Events
Collaborate with other local nutrition-focused groups to organize a health fair at the Farmers’ Market. Invite local health-focused groups and organizations to table at the Farmers’ Market to provide activities for families and kids and give out free nutrition information and incentive items.
Free Nutrition Education Information
Provide free recipes and nutrition information at the Farmers’ Market information booth. You can also put recipes at vendor booths where the recipe ingredients are being sold.
Include a nutrition message or pictures of fruits and vegetables on EBT signage at market. This signage includes signs at the market entrance as well as signage at the location where EBT redemption takes place, such as at the market information booth.
Nutrition-focused prizes and giveaways
Enter people into a raffle when they redeem their EBT card, and do weekly or monthly drawings. Prizes can include a food basket or other nutrition incentive item.
Monthly Produce Observances
Celebrate regular monthly produce observances and other nutrition-focused monthly observances at the farmers’ market. Harvest of the Month is a Network for a Healthy California Project that can assist with ideas for these observances. Please check out www.harvestofthemonth.com for these resources.
Tasting and other health events can be organized to feature each monthly theme. Monthly themes can also be featured in a Market newsletter. A sign at market can display the produce or health theme of the month.
Invite local schools, community centers, afterschool programs, and senior centers to take a field trip and tour of the farmers’ market. When they arrive, make sure to let them know that the market accepts EBT. Children can be given a scavenger hunt of items to find at the farmers’ market, focusing on fruits and vegetables. You may also give out coupons that clearly state that the market accepts EBT.
Culturally Appropriate Foods at Market
It is important to provide a product mix at the farmers’ market that is culturally appropriate for the population living in the local community. Research the demographics of your farmers’ market’s community, and keep it in mind when deciding on which vendors and products to allow into the Farmers’ Market. The Network’s GIS website can
help (listed in Resources section below).
Part 2: Promoting Outside of Market
Promoting your farmers’ market outside of the market itself is an important aspect to reach EBT shoppers. Some of the ways to advertise outside of the Farmers’ Market include:
- Coupon giveaways
- Market website
- Radio and television
- Newspaper articles
- Print ads
Pay attention to nutrition-focused events going on in your community, such as those at after-school programs, YMCA, and other community centers, and give out coupons for your farmers’ market that prominently advertise the fact that you accept EBT.
Flyers and Posters
Create flyers and posters for your farmers’ market that prominently advertises the fact that you accept EBT for the fresh healthy foods available at the market. Distribute these flyers and posters in key locations in your community frequented by EBT card-holders. These locations might include libraries, community centers, WIC offices, food banks, churches and afterschool programs.
Make sure that your farmers’ market website features information about EBT redemption for fresh healthy foods at your farmers’ market.
Radio and Television
Ask your local community radio or television station to produce a public service announcement stating that your farmers’ markets accept EBT. You may also be able to get an interview to discuss EBT redemption at your farmers’ market and the importance of EBT redemption for nutrition and access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the community.
Try to get articles written about your farmers’ market by sending out a press release to your local newspapers and other media outlets advertising EBT redemption at your farmers’ market, especially if you have a nutrition-focused event coming up.
Make sure any print ads for your farmers’ market state clearly that the farmers’ market accepts EBT.
Part 3: Resources
Lots of resources are available in your community to help you to promote EBT redemption and nutrition education at your Farmers’ Market:
- Network for a Healthy California Regional Offices and resources
The Regional Offices of the Network for a Healthy California can help you to identify local organizations and projects that can assist you in organizing events, identifying outreach locations and opportunities, and may be able to distribute free nutrition education materials and incentive items to you. You can locate your
regional coordinator and download free materials including recipes, cookbooks and seasonal guides to fruits and vegetables at:
- Local Network Campaigns
Local Network Campaigns in your area may include the African American Campaign, Latino Campaign, Children’s Power Play! Campaign, Retail Program, and Worksite Program. These projects may be able to distribute items to you that target specific populations in your Farmers’ Market and in your community. These campaigns can be located through your Regional Network Office.
- Network GIS Map Viewer
The Network has an online GIS Map Viewer that can be used to study the demographics of the area of your Farmers’ Market and locate local schools, Network Offices, Food Stamp Offices, Food Banks, Public Health Offices, WIC Offices, and other potential outreach resources. The GIS Map Viewer is located at: www.cnngis.org Please note that this viewer currently does not work with the Safari web browser.
- California Farmers’ Market EBT Project
This is the State project that provides the free wireless equipment to farmers’ markets to accept EBT. This project can provide some outreach items, such as posters that say “We Accept EBT.” For more information, contact Dianne PadillaBates, Calif. Dept. of Social Services (916) 654-1396, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ecology Center Farmers’ Market EBT Project
Our project works with Farmers’ Markets throughout CA to assist in promoting nutrition and EBT redemption. We can help design fliers and posters promoting your market and healthy eating to SNAP participants. You may contact us at email@example.com. Our website also has many resources, and can be found at www.ecologycenter.org/ebt.
- Real Food, Real Choice: Connecting SNAP Recipients with Farmers’ Markets
A report from the Community Food Security Coalition and the Farmers’ Market Coalition with many suggestions how to best make the connection between SNAP
EBT shoppers and farmers’ markets: www.foodsecurity.org/pub/RealFoodRealChoice_SNAP_FarmersMarkets.pdf