Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Food Stamps and Farmers' Markets

20.03.2012
Current food stamp programs at urban farmers’ markets attempting to bring fresh produce to economically stressed city dwellers are so complicated for the shopper and expensive for the farmer that fewer people are taking advantage of the federal program designed to help them, according to research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Record numbers of Americans are receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, as food stamps are now known, and many SNAP participants live in neighborhoods with little or no access to healthy food. A study conducted at the Clark Park Farmers’ Market in Philadelphia, Pa., found that making it easier for vendors to collect SNAP payments with electronic point-of-sale systems increased fresh produce sales to SNAP recipients by 38 percent.

However, the costs associated with such systems may put them out of reach for farmers. The study, by Penn Nursing professor Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, and colleagues, appears in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Our study highlights the need for an equitable approach to subsidizing Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) fees at farmers’ markets,” Dr. Buttenheim reported. “Vendors told us, and we confirmed with a cost-benefit analysis, that they would not be able to break even on sales after paying the associated costs.”

SNAP participants access their benefits through EBT cards. To accept the cards at farmers’ markets, vendors must rent wireless POS terminals, pay for wireless service, and cover transaction fees. Because of the associated costs, many market managers operate a single wireless POS terminal for the entire market. SNAP beneficiaries may buy a token that they can exchange for produce, but they can’t receive change. Alternatively, customers can make their selections with a vendor, get a paper receipt for the total amount of the purchase, and present the receipt to the central terminal, where the customer’s EBT card is swiped for the exact amount of purchase. This must be repeated for each vendor the customer wants to visit.

Instead, Dr. Buttenheim and colleagues provided each vendor at the Clark Park Farmers’ Market with a wireless POS terminal for EBT and credit/debit card transactions. A grant covered all associated wireless charges, transaction fees, and processing fees during a pilot program which ran from June 2008 through February 2009. After the pilot period, the market returned to a single market-operated terminal and receipt system.

Researchers analyzed sales data at the market for four years, beginning 17 months before the pilot project and ending 22 months afterward. There was a 38 percent increase in SNAP/EBT sales during the months with multiple vendor-operated terminals. However, after the pilot project ended, sales to SNAP participants returned to pre-pilot levels, controlling for increases in SNAP participation in Philadelphia.

“Many stakeholders want to increase SNAP redemptions at farmers’ markets,” said Dr. Buttenheim. “We hope this study can inform policymakers about the specific mechanisms driving SNAP redemptions and about the need for subsidies for wireless POS technology at farmers’ markets.”

Joy McIntyre
Director of Communications
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
215.898.5074
joymc@nursing.upenn.edu

Joy McIntyre | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>