The Pros and Cons of Food Stamps At Farmers’ Markets

TIME

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), low-income moms are provided with vouchers to purchase healthy, nutritious food for their families. Farmers’ markets have become part of this program as well, in order to expand the fresh produce options that low-income families have.

But the latest study of WIC families in Illinois highlights the fact that the exact benefits of farmers’ market vouchers are hard to figure out. The latest research finds that the amounts of farmers’ market vouchers don’t contribute to a meaningful increase in fruit and vegetable intake, and that prices for produce were lower at grocery stores than at the markets. But price isn’t everything.

“Where farmers’ markets really shine is getting people more interested and having a more positive attitude about fruits and vegetables,” says Karen Chapman-Novakofski, senior author of the paper, published…

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