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Overview

The Ingredients for a Welcoming Farmers Market Toolkit is a PSE change intervention that uses best practices to contribute to a more welcoming farmers market environment for all community members. The Toolkit outlines a 7-step process designed to assist with data collection, analysis, and action planning. The baseline assessment determines whether the market is implementing the healthy practice in question or if the market needs some improvement in that area. The resource guide helps staff better understand why questions are included in the assessment, and how the market can improve its practices related to each question. Using the Community Food Survey included in the Toolkit, staff collect responses from community members to better understand why individuals might not attend the farmer's market or what foods they might be interested in buying at the market.  

Intervention Target Behavior: Food Insecurity/Food Assistance 

SNAP-Ed Strategies PSE Change 

Intervention Reach and Adoption

The Toolkit is designed to encourage farmers' markets on how to use best practices to create a thriving, inclusive, and healthy farmers market environment. It has been piloted at several farmers market sites.  

Settings: Community-wide, Farmers Market 

Age/Population Group: Pregnant/Breastfeeding, Parents/Caregivers, Adults, Older Adults, Unhoused 

Race: All

Ethnicity: All 

Intervention Components

The Toolkit focuses on teaching participants how to create a more welcoming farmers market environment by collecting data about the market to ensure it is meeting the needs of the community to improve healthy food access. The Toolkit also identifies strategies for how the farmers market can better meet the needs of the community so it's more accessible and affordable, with the goal of improving customers' health in the process. Components of the Toolkit include a resource guide, baseline, and follow-up assessments, market manager interviews, community food surveys, trainings for farmers market staff and volunteers, action planning tools, and promotional materials. The intervention components help farmers markets examine areas they can work on to ensure a more welcoming and inclusive shopping environment and identify clear steps to outline a timeline for reaching goals. 

Intervention Materials

Intervention materials include: 

  • Baseline and follow-up assessments 
  • Market manager interview and community food survey 
  • A resource guide 
  • Training for market staff and volunteers 
  • Action planning template 
  • Promotional materials 
Intervention Costs

The Toolkit is available at no cost. Those interested can email sth-administration@ncsu.edu. 

Evidence Summary

The Toolkit was adapted from the Farmer's Market Audit Tool. It was further developed in collaboration with Steps to Health, NC State Extension professionals, and farmers markets. Extension professionals were targeted for implementing this Toolkit and as a result it has been piloted at several farmers market sites. Baseline and follow-up assessments, market manager interviews, and community food surveys were used to determine interest and need for PSE support to improve the farmers market environment. Feedback from Extension professionals, clients, and markets was used to make the Toolkit more concise for easier implementation, leading to shortened staff and volunteer training sessions based on feedback so they could be delivered in 30 minutes. Additionally, the toolkit was updated to reflect COVID-19 precautions including the addition of best practices for food safety and social distancing during COVID-19.  

Using the Toolkit, Extension professionals in New Hanover County, North Carolina worked with the Wilmington Farmers Market at Tidal Creek to help address food insecurity by applying for SNAP/EBT (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) acceptance and the use of Fresh Bucks. Fresh Bucks is a program, supported through RAFI-USA funding, that allows SNAP shoppers to double their dollars at the market in order to buy more healthy, nutritious food for their families. Since the market started offering Fresh Bucks and SNAP/EBT in May 2019, it has doubled more than 500 SNAP customers' purchases which resulted in significant additional sales for vendors. 

Evidence Base: Emerging 

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

  Readiness and Capacity - Short Term (ST) Changes - Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance - Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual        
Environmental Settings ST5 MT5 LT5, LT9, LT10
Sectors of Influence      
  • ST5: Completed needs assessments and documented readiness for changes in PSE 
  • MT5: Successful implementation of PSE changes 
  • LT5: Multi-level interventions including direct education, community involvement, and policy implementation 
  • LT9: Increased in-kind resources (staff, volunteers, grant funding) 
  • LT10: Developed sustainability assessments with action planning tools 
Evaluation Materials

Evaluation materials include a Market Manger Interview Guide, Community Food Survey, and a Farmers Market Evaluation Form.  

Additional Information

The Steps to Health website, https://ncstepstohealth.org/, includes links to more resources provided by NC State Extension's Steps to Health Program.  

Contact Person(s): 

Lindsey Haynes-Maslow

Email: Lhaynes-maslow@ncsu.edu 

Phone: 919-515-9125 

Resource Type
Evidence Base
Intervention Outcome Levels
SNAP-Ed Strategies
Race
Ethnicity
Intervention Target Behavior
Language
Evaluation Framework Indicators