Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 58
Objectives: The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides eligible recipients with vouchers to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables directly from farmers. The purpose of this research is to determine the current redemption rate of FMNP vouchers, why the recipients of FMNP may not be redeeming vouchers, and what specific barriers they may face in their redemption efforts.
Methods: Face-to-face surveys are being conducted at farmers’ markets and WIC clinics in Passaic and Essex Counties in New Jersey (NJ). The survey is being conducted in English and Spanish language using Qualtrics Survey Software on tablets. A preliminary sample (n=262) has been analyzed to examine redemption rates at different WIC clinics, general barriers to voucher redemption, and differences between of recipients who redeemed FMNP vouchers and those who did not; including sociodemographic variables.
Results: Preliminary analysis of 262 respondents indicates the redemption rate of FMNP vouchers is 63%. Of the 186 respondents (71%) who received FMNP vouchers, 93 (50%) indicated redeeming the full value of the vouchers, 27 (15%) indicated redeeming some but not all vouchers, and 62 (33%) reported no voucher redemption. Higher frequency of redemption was found among those working full-time when compared with those who are unemployed (50% vs. 45.8%). Those aged 35-44 years reported redeeming FMNP vouchers at a higher rate (55.4%) than those below age 35 (44.4%). The most significant barriers to FMNP voucher redemption among participants was that the closest farmers’ market was not open at convenient times and/or was too far away. Of the two WIC clinics surveyed, one was served by a weekly veggie mobile that accepted FMNP vouchers, and another was served by a local farmer who stocked an on-site refrigerator with $10 bags of produce. The redemption rate for the clinic with the on-site refrigerator was higher (73% vs. 60%).
Conclusions: Additional efforts to make FMNP voucher redemption more convenient to low-income communities where the vouchers are more likely to be distributed is necessary to ensure an increased redemption rate. The effectiveness of different interventions to improve FMNP voucher redemption, such as veggie mobiles or on-site storage and distribution, need to be analyzed comparatively.
Funding Source: This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2017-70001-25994.
Montclair State University
Morristown, New Jersey