In Tennessee, a team of state specialists working with the University of Tennessee Extension SNAP-Ed: Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education (UT SNAP-Ed: TNCEP) program in the Department of Family and Consumers Sciences (FCS) have launched a state-wide social marketing program – Farmers’ Market Fresh. The primary objective of Farmers’ Market Fresh is to encourage limited-resource families to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption through farmers’ markets.
Throughout the summer, FCS County Agents, para-professionals, and assistants have booths at farmers’ markets where they offer food demonstrations, recipes, and research-based advice on best ways to select, prepare, and store some of our favorite summertime items. The best part of the program – each person who stops by the booths receives a recipe card for the food being demonstrated. At the end of the season, consumers could have an entire collection of recipes all featuring items fresh from the farmers’ market. Adults, however, are not the only ones who learn from the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth. Children enjoy a sample of the food prepared, and they are able to participate in a weekly children’s challenge. Through the challenge, children are able to earn prizes for the fruits and vegetables their families purchase, prepare, and taste at home. There is even some buzz that a special visitor – Rudy the Raccoon – makes an appearance at the markets.
During the pilot year (FY 2015), Farmers’ Market Fresh was implemented at 15 farmers’ markets. A total of 121 food demonstrations were presented resulting in 29,071 educational contacts. 310,651 indirect contacts were made through exhibits, newspaper articles, publications, social media, and television segments. As a result of the programming, fruit and vegetable consumption increased among the participants. Additionally, SNAP redemption at the pilot markets increased by over $3,600.
Farmers’ Market Fresh is currently in its second year of implementation with programming occurring at 39 farmers’ markets across the state.