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Implementation of a Farmers Market Incentive Program in Maryland: Perspectives from Vendors

February 28, 2020
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development

Caitlin A. Misiaszek, Amelie A. Hecht, Gabby Headrick, Shelley Brosius, Amy Crone, Pamela J. Surkan

A number of farmers markets have begun to offer matching incentive programs as a way to increase access to fresh foods for low-income families and increase sales among vendors. However, research evaluating the implementation of these programs is limited. This study employed a qualitative approach, interviewing vendors (n=19) selling at four farmers markets in Maryland to understand the barriers and facilitators to implementing the Maryland Market Money program. Overall, ven­dors reported positive attitudes toward the incen­tive program. Interviewed vendors identified key facilitators such as ease of implementation and positive social and economic impact of the pro­gram for participants and themselves. Vendors also discussed barriers, which included a lack of under­standing among customers about how the program operated, poor program promotion, and lack of educational materials. Some vendors described negative experiences with customers and expressed stigmatizing views toward customers. Given that vendors are key stakeholders in program imple­mentation, as incentive programs continue to expand, it is important to take into account their views and concerns to create successful programs.

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