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SNAP at Farmers Markets: Logistics, Policies, Partners, and Evaluating Success


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  • 1. SNAP at Farmers Markets:Logistics, Policies, Partnerships, and Evaluating Success Community Food Security Coalition Annual Conference • November 5, 2011
  • 2. Introductions  Stacy Miller, Farmers Market Coalition Charlottesville, Virginia  Darlene Wolnik, Farmers Market Coalition New Orleans, Louisiana  Suzanne Briggs, Farmers Market Coalition Portland, Oregon  Jean Hamilton, NOFA- Vermont Richmond, Vermont  Jezra Thompson, Roots of Change San Francisco, California  You!
  • 3. Goals of the Workshop   Offer a variety of SNAP program design decisions that are dependent on community setting, farmers market organization structure and community partners   Offer tools to better understand farmers markets’ characteristics and capacity and their community   Identify policies that impact SNAP in farmers markets   Discover the mutual benefits of working with community partners
  • 4. SNAP in Farmers Markets:What have we learned?Where are we going? Stacy Miller Executive Director Farmers Market Coalition
  • 5. Equity in Farmers Markets  Farmers become price makers versus price takers  Define a sense of place & build community  Foster entrepreneurship and independence  Bridge urban and rural divides and serve as cultural mixing bowls  Children learn the value of healthy food  Strengthens community ties via cross-cutting Relationships
  • 6. SNAP Benefits ($1,000) in 2008
  • 7. SNAPshot 2010 ◦  The average household size is 2.2 people ◦  The average length of time a participant stays on the program is 9 months ◦  93% are U.S. born citizens ◦  85% of all SNAP benefits go to households with children, elderly, or persons with disabilities ◦  The average monthly SNAP benefit per person is $130 ◦  1.4 million SNAP participants are rural
  • 8. Online at
  • 9. What are the speedbumps?
  • 10. The SNAP in Farmers MarketProgress Report:What Can We Measure FromWhat We Learn?Darlene WolnikIndependent and Trainer and Researcher for Public Markets
  • 11. A few things are happening within thisLearning Circle… The common outcome: Progress Report template  CPPW communities want to understand and communicate the challenges and success of their projects.  FMC wants to learn from CPPW communities and build a nationwide menu of indicators and a shared Market Profile.
  • 12. Progress Report Profile Challenges IndicatorsLessons learned
  • 13. Market Intent (mission) and History = Market Profile  Using general questions that apply to many varieties of markets, a Market Profile will be devised for a market community member to complete.  Must take less than 30 minutes and allow a market person to complete.  Should not include project specific or sensitive data.  Should not duplicate other annual surveys (USDA)
  • 14. Market Intent (mission) and History = Market Profile   Information should be shared widely on a web interface.   Markets themselves need access to Profiles to use as reports.
  • 15. Challenges:Early barriers or stumbling blocks thatthe project uncovered.“Hard to attract shoppers.”“Not a tradition or critical mass of farmers markets”“Lack of business sophistication among markets andfarmers”“Markets are 4-5 Vendors with 100 to 150 people per day”“Many level of barriers for permitting and for fees”“No definition of farmers markets”
  • 16. Indicators:Here’s where projects include individual factorsIndicators or Measurement Statistics: Set of data collection points that will allow marketsand their partners to select which impacts tomeasure. How much time and who must collect the data will bealso be identified.
  • 17. Indicators or Measurement Statistics (continued): Uses the framework of Farmers Market Coalition’striple-bottom line. Cross-references the economic, social and humanbenefits for each group.Please tell us what is useful for your project by taking thesurvey. Please add your own indicators too.
  • 18. HOW data must be collected and by WHOM?  Observation 1-5 hours per collection ◦ Trained volunteers. Usually takes entire market time. 2-5 people needed, Data is useful for many purposes but must be collected fairly and with discipline.
  • 19. HOW data must be collected and by WHOM?  Interview Surveys 6-14 hours per collection ◦ Trained team. 2-15 people needed but data is lengthy. Collection is logistically complex.
  • 20. HOW data must be collected and by WHOM?  Passivesurveys (also known as Dot Surveys or Bean Polls) 6-8 hours per collection ◦ Trained volunteers. 1-3 people but they can also handle other duties. Entire market.
  • 21. HOW data must be collected and by WHOM?  End of Day data collection 1-4 hours per collection ◦  Market staff or paid office staff. Requires skills with office reports and analysis  Office Records Research 2-8 hours per collection ◦  Market staff or office staff. Requires space and time in office and skill in building spreadsheets or graphs.
  • 22. HOW data must be collected and by WHOM?  Anecdotes 1-5 hours per collection ◦  Trained volunteers. 1-3 people needed, Data is less useful for stand-alone reporting but can brighten up other reports. Can handle other duties  Field Research ◦  Trained team. 2-5 people needed. data is lengthy. Collection is logistically complex.
  • 23. Lessons learned = sharing knowledge  “Get better price comparison templates – prices need to be specific for product categories such as free range eggs”  “Know what products are selling in different markets”  “Get FMNP sales figures by county”  “Use WIC peers to promote the market”  “Collect formal recordings of testimonies of shoppers and community partners”
  • 24. Next StepsComplete the indicator survey online at SurveyMonkey (link sent via email)On the calendar:December 7 webinar: Measuring theMob: Reliable and Visitor Count andCustomer Data Collection TechniquesJanuary webinar: Price comparisons andCommunicating Affordability
  • 25. The Forks in the Road:Logistical Strategies for Services Evolution of Wireless CardSNAP Early Adopter – Farmers Market Federation → in Farmers Markets of New York → SNAP in farmers markets programs had simple accounting systems → Wireless card machines go mainstream offering SNAP and debitSuzanne BriggsTechnical Assistance Program ManagerFarmers Market Coalition
  • 26. Forks in the Road Decisions◦  SNAP or No SNAP◦  Who owns the SNAP permit: farmer? market? partner?◦  So many third party providers, who to choose?◦  Rent or Purchase Wireless Card machines?◦  Paper receipts versus tokens?◦  How does the market cover operating cost?◦  Revenue stream options?◦  Who markets to the SNAP and WIC shoppers?◦  Future technology impacts?
  • 27. Evolution of Wireless Card Services → Early Adopter – Farmers Market Federation of New York → SNAP in farmers markets programs had simple accounting systems → Wireless card machines go mainstream offering SNAP and debit
  • 28. Evolution of Wireless Card Services → Farmers markets begin generating revenue streams to cover costs → Increased # of farmers markets accepting credit cards → Farmers markets began favoring rented wireless card machines → Explosion of matching incentive programs. → Introduction of THE SQUARE technology.
  • 29. Ecology of Farmers Markets
  • 30. Farmers Market Profiles Matter:Farmers Markets Organized by Farmers  Strongest relationship with fellow farmers and market shoppers  Market manager is a farmer  Limited relationships with community partners
  • 31. Farmers Market Profiles Matter:Farmers Markets Organized by Farmers  Unknown sales records  Many SNAP permit holders, many fees, no economies of scale  Limited marketing to SNAP and WIC shoppers
  • 32. Farmers Market Profiles Matter:Farmers Market Organized byCommunity Farmers Market Organizations  Stronger community ownership  Dedicated market manager to connect farmers and shoppers  Some capacity to engage community partners  One SNAP permit holder, one monthly fee, some economies of scale  Markets to SNAP shoppers through community partners and agencies  Greater capacity to participate in statewide farmers market association
  • 33. Farmers Market Profiles Matter:Farmers Market Organized by Community Non Profits   Mission Driven   Dedicated personnel   Subsidizes farmers markets with other organization resources   Smaller farmers markets often in low income neighborhoods   Deep understanding of health disparities and hunger.
  • 34. Wireless Card ServicesState Agency Support◦  Purchase machines for the farmers and/or farmers market◦  Provide state-owned wireless card machines◦  Reimburse farmers market for rental fees, SNAP transaction and monthly fee◦  SNAP agency promotes the farmers markets through mailers and websites◦  Provide incentive dollars for people of disabilities who use SNAP◦  Joint statewide private public marketing promotion programs
  • 35. Joint Public Agencies Success Story
  • 36. 3rd Party Wireless Card Services◦  SNAP Only◦  SNAP Debit◦  SNAP Debit/Credit Card
  • 37. Wireless Card Services Transaction FeesDebit vs CC $10 $20 $30 $40 $100Provider A Debit .55 .55 .55 .55 .55Provider A CC .46 .70 .94 1.18 2.61 2.39% +.22Provider B Debit .55 .55 .55 .55 .55Provider B CC .49 .73 .97 1.21 2.65 2.40% +.25Provider C Debit .40 .40 .40 .40 .40Provider C CC .52 .72 .93 1.13 2.34 2.02% +.32Provider D Debit .55 .55 .55 .55 .55Provider D CC .41 .62 .82 1.03 2.28 2.08% +.20
  • 38. Wireless Card ServicesWoodstock Farmers Market June July August SeptemberTotal Sales – Debit $500.01 $3,855.38 $6,010.0 $2933.05 and Credit 0# of Transactions - 24 156 237 135Debit and CreditTotal Fees $246.65 $214.21 $234.84 $152.72Wireless Card Service .049329 .055561 .039075 .052069 Total Fees or or or or 4.9% 5.5% 3.9% 5.2%FM Charging Vendors 3 to 5% 3 to 5% 3 to 5% 3 to 5%
  • 39. Wireless Card ServicesRevenue Streams◦  None – Operating fees paid by market general funds◦  Charge to customer - $1.00 to $2.00 per debit transaction◦  Charge for tokens – charge $22.00 for 4 - $5 debit or credit card tokens◦  % charge of vendor token sales – 3 -5 percent of total token sales.◦  % charge of vendor sales minus the total dollars of change returned to customer
  • 40. One Tokens………Two Tokens How many more?Rainbow Colors of Tokens   SNAP Tokens   Debit/Credit Card Tokens   Incentive Tokens   Gift Certificate Tokens   WIC Goes EBT ◦  Fruits and Veggie (CVV) Tokens????No More Tokens!!!! Solutions?
  • 41. One Tokens………Two Tokens How many more?Possible Solutions?  Paper Scripts cumbersome, but no liability, less handling  Move from centralize SNAP program to Farmers own machines  Farmers adopt new technology  SNAP and WIC on same EBT software platform
  • 42. Wireless Card ServicesTechnology Game Changer The Square 2.75% +$. 15
  • 43. Further Reading   The Cultural Significance of Farmers Markets the-cultural-significance-of-farmers-markets   USDA Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) SNAP Permits   USDA SNAP application for Farmers Markets (Please note that these applications are not tailored to Farmers Markets specifically)   Oregon Farmers Market Association EBT Resources http://   THE SQUARE -   Mobile Market +APP – Nova Dia Group Ricky Aviles   TSYS Merchant Solutions – Rental Machine Options, Jason Butts
  • 44. Developing and Changing Policies that Impact SNAP in Farmers MarketsStacy MillerExecutive DirectorFarmers Market Coalition
  • 45. Federal Policy • Requirements of the IRS Ruling • Future EBT funding • Ex. Gillibrand • FNS Research and preliminary findings: how will they influence administrative policy? • Complexity of future EBT programs (WIC, WIC CVV, etc) • New regulations for smart phone apps and Verifone tools to accept EBT
  • 46. FMPP◦ In 2010, 30% of FMPP grant funding supported new EBT projects◦ In 2011:  40% of projects serve one or more food deserts  24% of all funding went to new EBT projects◦ $23 million in grants over five years
  • 47. SNAP Leadership at USDA  Strategic plan: 2,000 market authorized; $7.2 million in benefits redeemed by 2015   Mission Accomplished! … right?  Retailer locator:  Blanket waver for scrip and incentives: Feb 2010  1,611 FM SNAP authorized retailers: Sept 2010  2011: 2,600 retailers  FNS begins research on farmers markets’ relationship with nutrition programs: Nov 2010  $4 million requested in 2011 and 2012 budgets
  • 48. Legislative OpportunitiesExpanding Access to Farmers Markets Act (Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Sherrod Brown)  Provide farmers markets with wireless, mobile equipment to process SNAP benefits.  Amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require State agencies and the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA to treat farmers markets and other open-air retailers the same as brick-and-mortar, traditional retail food stores.  Encourage State agencies to contract with nonprofit organizations to assist with outreach, training and administration.
  • 49. Legislative OpportunitiesLocal Farms, Food, and Jobs Act (Representative Chellie Pingree and Senator Sherrod Brown)  Similar provision to Expanding Access Act  Fund two statewide pilot projects to develop the software, technology, and machinery needed to facilitate redemption of SNAP, WIC, & FMNP by wireless direct market retail food vendors; at least one should include smartphone technology.  Increase Senior FMNP to $25 million  Allow farmers markets & CSAs to be venues for SNAP Education  FMPP  Local Marketing Promotion Program: $30 million
  • 50. Promising State Legislation  Washington ◦ SB 6483, the Local Farms, Healthy Kids Act put wireless POS into 20 markets  Illinois ◦ HB 4756, the Farmers Market Technology Improvement Program  California ◦ A.B. 537 requires markets to allow a qualified organization to operate SNAP
  • 51. State Initiatives:Promising Programs & Partnerships   Massachusetts: $50K grant program via DTA and Dept. of Ag., with input from Mass Federation of FMs   Minnesota: mini-grants funded through Specialty Crop Block Grant   Michigan: WIC Smartphone app   Pennsylvania: Dept of Ag offers terminals
  • 52. Example: Virginia Grant Program PROJECT FUNDING: The project funding will cover the 2011 market season and will support the following infrastructure and resources as defined below:   One Wireless EBT POS Device (which also can process standard credit cards (VISA, MasterCard) and bank issued debit cards)   First Installment Of SNAP EBT Tokens (debit/credit tokens not included)   Signage, flyers, posters And/or other promotional Items   Inclusion in statewide marketing plan   Technical and programmatic assistance
  • 53. Example: Virginia Grant Program REQUIREMENTS FOR PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS:   For Market Participants, The Coordinator Can Be Anyone From The Market Community (e.g. Manager,Vendor, Board Member, Community Volunteer) Who Commits To Overseeing The Operations, Outreach, Promotions, And Budgeting Of The EBT Program   This Person May Or May Not Be The Staff Operator Of The Wireless Device At The Market   The Market Must Have A Reliable "Staff" Person Continuously Attending The Table Where Customers Swipe Their EBT/Debit Cards In Exchange For Tokens To Spend At The Market   Market Coordinators And Individual Farmers Should Be Available To Meet With The Virginia Farmers Market Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Program Committee 2-3 Times Per Year (Usually Via Phone Conferences)
  • 54. References and More Information   USDA Strategic Plan   Farmers Market SNAP Sales Soar in 2010   IRS 6050W Electronic Payment Reporting Requirement Webinar video:   Real Food Real Choice: Connecting SNAP Recipients with Farmers Markets   FNS Funds Research to Better Understand Farmers Markets   SNAP EBT at your Market: Seven Steps to Success (PPS)   2010 SNAP Participant Characteristics   Washington Local Farms, Healthy Kids Act   The Future of Farmers Markets: Evolving Technology to Connect Farmers Markets to Food Assistance Recipients farmers-to-food-assistance-recipients
  • 55. Developing and Changing Policy thatImpacts Farmers Markets:Informing Localand State Policy Jezra Thompson Program Manager Roots of Change San Francisco, California
  • 56. Current Permitting, Zoning, and Policies •  Multiple permitting forms and policies •  Contradictions between counties and cities •  Inappropriate zoning for temporary spaces, like fairs and festivals •  Lack of communication between orgs & agencies
  • 57. Why do we need change?  Markets represent a public and private good  They shape our spaces and places  Add economic activity  Increase healthy food access  Engage communities and build relationships
  • 58. How can Counties and Cities change tobetter support equity in farmers markets?   What can cities do?   What can counties do?
  • 59. What can we do to help them change?  Work with local businesses to gain support for markets establishing in their neighborhood  Advocate for streamlined policies  Partner with each other to build a movement and a larger voice  Work with your government offices and advocate for their leadership
  • 60. Further Reading•  Resource for jurisdictions interested in re-evaluating sanitation policies related to farmers markets• Economic Eval:•  County-Specific Obesity, Diabetes, and Physical Inactivity Prevalence Data (CDC): www.cdc.govobesitydatatrends.htmls_cid=govD_dnpao_079&source=gov delivery#County•  Food Environment Atlas (USDA):•  Food Desert Locator (USDA):•  National Farmers Market Directory:•  Public Health Law and Policy: Establishing Land Use Protections for Farmers Markets protections-farmers-markets
  • 61. Identifying and EnrichingCommunity Partnerships Jezra Thompson Program Manager Roots of Change, CA Jean Hamilton Market Development Coordinator NOFA-VT
  • 62. Outline:  Review Guiding Questions  Social Mapping  Partnership Building Exercise  Revisit Questions  Review Lessons Learned SEE LA’s Hollywood Farmers Market
  • 63. Who can help your market?  What is the value of partnerships?  What are different types of partnerships?  How are different partnerships formed?  Where do we find partners?  How can partnerships reduce work Partners celebrate at the Winooski FM in VT and redundancies?  How can we make time for building partnerships?Who can your market help?
  • 64. Further Reading  Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving by Valdis Krebs and June Holley  Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam  Engaging the Community for Farmers Market Success by NOFA-VT(  Farmers Market Price Comparison in Southeast States http://  Vermont Farmers Markets Pricing Study  Farmers Market Coalition:
  • 65. Our SNAP in FarmersMarket Progress Report:What can we measure from what we learned?
  • 66. Questions?
  • 67. Thank you!