Recently the Adams County Farmers’ Market Association (ACFMA) published a Progress Report highlighting the positive results gained from community collaboration and program development. This six year review (2010-2016) demonstrates how this Gettysburg based market organization has been a key component to increase access to fresh food.
During this time frame, overall market sales have grown by over 75% however the greatest impact has been in sales generated from a variety of outreach and wellness programs conducted at the market. Since 2011, vendor sales from these programs have increased 318% to over $41,000 in 2016. Program sales now account for roughly 30% of the overall market sales.
So where does this additional $41,000 in program sales come from? Here’s a quick overview of the market’s top four programs and how they meet a variety of community needs.
#1 Healthy Options – Individuals eligible for this program do not qualify for SNAP food benefits but are considered “food insecure”. Referred for participation by various health and human service organizations when they fall between 160 and 250% of the federal poverty income guidelines. Every season since 2011, Healthy Options has coupled nutrition education with $180 in market vouchers to shop at the market. The HO program generates over $20,000 in vendor sales.
#2 County Wellness Initiative – As part of its overall county employee wellness program, the Adams County Commissioners approved $10,000 worth of Farmers Market Vouchers for participating employees. Every month employees received a $5 voucher to purchase only locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables at the market.
#3 Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for WIC Recipients and Seniors – FMNP eligible consumers that redeem FMNP vouchers at the market receive matching dollars to assist in increasing consumption of locally grown fruit and vegetables. Combined sales from these vouchers and matching dollars generated over $5,300 in additional vendor sales.
#4 Providing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Services at the Market -Today many farmers markets do accept SNAP. ACFMA with the support from its program partners doubles SNAP purchases up to $10 to help increase consumption of fresh nutritious foods. SNAP purchases account for just over $2,000 in additional market sales.
At the end of the day, the Adams County Farmer’s Market Association and it’s involvement with local farms and its support of the community is the perfect recipe for a thriving community in both health and growth. The proof is in the numbers and the continued support from local farmers, residents, business leaders and our sponsors. We aim to continue encouraging our community to support these type of initiatives to boost the local economy, stimulate new business and create the ultimate market experience for all residents!