FreshLink works with community partners
to increase access to healthy food in Cleveland and East Cleveland, Ohio. FreshLink does this by evaluating and improving how people receiving SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) use farmers’ markets and the Double-Value Produce Perks
We do this through:
- An extensive survey of SNAP recipients regarding use and experience with farmers' markets
- In-depth interview research about food habits and social networks
- Recruiting community leaders as FreshLink Ambassadors.
Why is this work important?
Eating healthy food is a key part of having good health! People who live in the urban core of Cleveland and East Cleveland have low access to nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables. One way to get nutritious foods in these areas is by going to the farmers’ markets. There are many farmers’ markets all over Cleveland and East Cleveland. Farmers’ markets are a good step towards healthy food access. Yet, the amount of SNAP recipients using farmers’ markets is low. FreshLink is working to find and apply ways to help improve the usage of farmers’ markets as a way for SNAP recipients to get healthy food.
Why the focus on farmers’ markets?
Farmers’ markets have been named by the USDA as a way to increase healthy food access. A lot of people in Cleveland and East Cleveland live within a mile of a farmers’ market. In the last few years, produce incentive programs for SNAP recipients have been started at many farmers’ markets in the area. Incentive programs offer a dollar-to-dollar match to be used on produce. The usage of these incentive programs remains low. FreshLink hopes to encourage the use of incentive programs at farmers’ markets through the Peer Health Advocate model.
Who is part of the study?
The research is focused on areas of Cleveland and East Cleveland that have at least one census tract with a 30% poverty rate. Participants of the study must be community members who:
- Receive SNAP
- Live within one mile from a farmers' market
- Have young children in the home
- Do some of the food shopping for their household
What is a Peer Health Advocate? Why is this the suggested action plan?
Peer Health Advocates (PHA) will be community members who work to spread the word about farmers’ markets and incentive programs. PHAs will receive training and support to become experts for their communities. PHA takes a social approach to nutritious food access. Currently there are no known social approaches being used to engage SNAP recipients with farmers’ markets in the area.
Why the FreshLink carrot? What happened to the beet?
FreshLink works on five year grant cycles. During each cycle, FreshLink focuses on completely different projects about nutritious food access. The beet was for our 2008-2013 cycle and the carrot is for our current 2014-2019 cycle!
This research is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 1U48DP005030 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.