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Open Access Publications from the University of California

USDA program stimulates interest in farmers' markets among low-income women


A 1997 random survey of 2,000 participants in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program found that the program helped motivate low-income, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers to buy (and eat) fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers' markets. In California, the program provides $20 in coupons to participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). We found a small but statistically significant increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among survey respondents. The total intake was 4.50 servings per day in the group that used coupons compared with 3.56 in the group that did not, an increase of almost 1 serving. Participants were also enthusiastic about returning to farmers' markets. Sixty-two percent of those who were given coupons used them. Most participants wanted to see the program expanded although many responded with suggestions to improve it.

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