Increasing Farmers Market Access among Low-Income Shoppers in Washington State: Understanding the Role of Peer-to-Peer Programs
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OBJECTIVE: To describe a sample of peer-to-peer (P2P) farmers market programs, explore perceptions about the impacts of P2P programs, and to evaluate the factors that contribute to the success of this initiative. The study also examines how these findings relate to key indicators in the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework. METHODS: Semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with P2P program leaders, peer educators, and program participants. Interviews were coded and analyzed using qualitative software to identify emerging themes. The SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework was used to interpret results. RESULTS: P2P programs increased self-reported shopping at farmers markets and fruit and vegetable consumption among most peer educators and program participants. Multi-level facilitators were associated with successful P2P implementation. The characteristics of the peer educators, program design, support from program leaders, networks with partner organizations, and federal funding from SNAP-Ed were all critical to the success of P2P programs. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: This study suggests P2P programs that promote the use of farmers markets can contribute to individual behavior change, community change, and potentially changes in the agricultural sector. These results provide support for the further development and evaluation of P2P farmers market programs.
- Nutritional sciences