University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture
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Keywords

food insecurity, produce, nutrition, farmers markets, incentive programs, low-income, local purchases

Abstract

The Double Your Dollar (DYD) Program is a program that gives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) participants match dollars to spend at local farmers markets. The DYD’s goal is to incentivize healthy eating among individuals of low income and promote spending at farmers markets. Food insecurity affects over 60,000 individuals in Washington and Benton counties in Arkansas. The aim of this study was to assess how the DYD program impacted users’ food accessibility and how the program could be improved for the future. A survey was used to address basic demographics, type, frequency, and change of food purchases, and customer shopping patterns. Eighty DYD users were surveyed at farmers markets in Washington and Benton counties. The results indicated that the vast majority of current DYD users had increased purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is a marker for improved nutritional status. The main motivations for shopping at the farmers market included the ability to buy fresh, healthy, and quality foods. This study indicates that food assistance programs such as DYD could be replicated throughout the country to improve local food accessibility and, as a result, potentially improve nutritional status among individuals of low income. Future studies should assess the awareness of the program within the community since this study only assessed those already participating.

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