Speaking from New York City’s Union Square Greemarket at the height of the fall harvest, Steinhardt’s Carolyn Dimitri discusses how vouchers for produce can help improve the diets of the economically disadvantaged. Though low-income families often go without fruits and vegetables due to lack of access or inability to pay, Dimitri, an associate professor of food studies, and colleagues found that market vouchers for SNAP (food stamps) recipients can change that.
In a study of 281 such women in New York, San Diego, and Boston who received an extra $10 voucher when they shopped at farmers markets, more than half reported an increase in their vegetable consumption. The finding validates a new Agricultural Act of 2014 program incentivizing low-income families to shop at farmers markets.
Still, Dimitri cautions that relying on markets for healthy food can be problematic, because they are usually open on limited days and closed in the winter.