Experimental Station Reports on 61st St Farmer’s Market

Posted on: February 19th, 2014

The Experimental Station works with “government, the private sector and other community organizations to test and advocate for models of food access that work for vulnerable communities, make the most out of the donated dollar, support local small farmers, and sustain the regional ecology.” In a recent blog post, the group shared some findings and possible takeaways from its work with the 61st Street Farmers Market and its Double Value Coupon Program, which matches funds on LINK (food stamp) cards dollar-for-dollar, up to $25 per day:

In the right food environment, LINK shoppers consistently make healthy choices. When fresh produce and other healthy food is available and affordable, there is a strong preference for it. Raising our food environments to the healthy and equitable levels typically found at farmers markets results in LINK shoppers making healthy and well-balanced food choices.

When more produce is available during peak harvest season, LINK shoppers buy more of it. When the bulk of fresh produce is available in July, August, September and October, it accounts for a higher percentage of LINK and DVCP sales. Inversely, we can see the ‘value added’ (e.g., jams, pickles, tomato sauce, granola) category dips proportionally low when fresh fruits and vegetables are most abundant[.]

People don’t get enough money on their LINK cards. Market days at beginnings of months were consistently higher sales days (averaging $773 LINK sales/market day), and market days at end of months were also particularly low sales days (averaging $475 LINK sales/market day). DVCP helps to fill the end-of-month food void by doubling LINK dollars.”

Learn more and see graphs of their data at experimentalstation.org

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