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What's New with FreshLink?
As the PRCHN’s core research project, FreshLink is at the forefront of what we do and who we are. The PRCHN Connection introduced you to new FreshLink Project Manager Kristen Matlack in the January issue. She has been working with Associate Director and Principal Investigator Darcy Freedman, PhD, and the FreshLink investigators and partners to lay the groundwork for a survey of 320 SNAP recipients this summer. The survey will ask SNAP families about food shopping habits, food choices, and their experiences with farmers’ markets and the Double Value Produce Perks program.

Additionally, FreshLink investigators and staff have been hard at work on a literature review of barriers and facilitators to farmers' market use, particularly among low-income populations. Farmers’ markets are frequently touted as potential policy, system, and environment (PSE) interventions to combat the incidence of obesity and food insecurity in low-income areas. However, farmers’ market use remains extremely low.

FreshLink has brought in additional partners to serve as recruitment sites for the survey, including the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, and the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association. They join existing partners Cuyahoga County Department of Jobs and Family Services, the Cleveland – Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition, The Ohio State University Extension, and the PRCHN’s Network of Community Advisors (NOCA). FreshLink will be doing on-site recruitment of survey participants from select community-based partner sites.

Dr. Freedman and Nicole Vaudrin, O-NOPREN Coordinator at the PRCHN, presented at the Ohio Farmers' Market Conference in Dublin, Ohio, on March 5th. Approximately 75 people attended the conference. Most were farmers' market managers or network managers. This was the first major dissemination from the FreshLink project.
Vaudrin (see photo) talked about the potential economic and public health power of farmers' markets and the preliminary literature review results, including barriers to farmers’ market use among low-income audiences. This sparked a discussion among attendees on making their markets more ethnically and racially inclusive spaces. In addition, Dr. Freedman gave the conference-goers a first look at the FM Tracks data collection app, which is a tool to help farmers’ market managers gather and manage healthy food incentive information electronically.

We’re hiring!!! The FreshLink project is hiring temporary summer research staff to assist with recruiting eligible participants and administering the survey through in-person or phone interviews. Read the job description and apply.
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