Dr. Henry Nuss, assistant professor of behavioral and community health sciences at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health, is the lead author of an article entitled “Farmers’ Market Utilization among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipients in New Orleans, Louisiana: Preliminary Findings”. The pilot study, published in Ethnicity and Disease, examined farmers’ market awareness and use, grocery shopping behaviors, and internet use among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
Local residents were surveyed between June and August 2016 to assess their awareness and use of farmers’ markets (FM) as a source of fresh produce. Results showed that less than half of the survey respondents had ever been to a FM. Local grocery stores and Wal-Mart were most used for purchasing fruits and vegetables (88 percent and 84 percent respectively). The most common sources of healthy eating information were Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the internet, frequently accessed via smartphones. More than 80 percent of participants were not aware that local FMs accepted electronic benefit transfer payments as a form of payment. These results support the incorporation of promotional methodology that combines internet-based mobile technology and existing services, eg, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as a viable strategy to improve farmers’ market use among low-income populations. As most participants were not aware that participating FMs accept electronic benefit transfer payments, this fact should be emphasized in promotional material.
Co-authors of the study include: Ms. Meg Skizim; Ms. Hasheemak Afaneh; Dr. Lucio Miele and Dr. Melinda Sothern.