Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geography and Environmental Resources

First Advisor

Duram, Leslie

Abstract

The USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's (SNAP) strives to connect SNAP recipients to local and healthful food sold at Farmers' markets. These efforts are an attempt to provide families, struggling to make ends meet, access to healthy foods and food purchasing power via the Federal Food Stamp program. However, of the 288 listed farmers' markets in Illinois only 25 are listed as SNAP/EBT accepting markets (2010 National Farmers Market Directory). The first part of this study uses the 61st Street Farmers Market as a case study, investigating the practical market operations and interpreting their method of EBT implementation to provide an established model of an existing and thriving farmers' market. Next, I will investigate the socio-economic characteristics (population, race, employment, income, poverty, education, age, and SNAP recipients) of Illinois farmers' markets accepting EBT. I will compare this data to other Illinois Farmers' markets that do not accept EBT and assess which non-accepting market locations would be most suitable for implementing EBT usage in the future. Finally, based on my case study and statistical analysis, I will discuss recommendations for farmers' markets to accept EBT into their markets. Findings indicate that there is no significant difference between the mean ranks of the socio-economic characteristics for the EBT and non-EBT accepting farmers' markets. Of the 8 socio-economic characteristics tested, the populations of SNAP recipients were analogous for each group: EBT and Non-EBT accepting farmers' markets.

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