Food insecurity is at the highest levels in the U.S. since the Great Depression, and Georgia in particular has the fourth highest rate of food insecurity. Federal food assistance benefits were designed to address food insecurity, but they may be exacerbating the relationship between food assistance and diet-related chronic disease. Double value coupon programs were designed to increase the purchasing power of food insecure families by doubling nutrition benefits when spent at local farmers markets. An evaluation of the Wholesome Wave Georgia double value coupon program was conducted with two goals: (1) To determine SNAP recipients’ knowledge and perception of the program. (2) To determine the most effective outreach strategy for disseminating program information in Atlanta, Georgia’s Peoplestown neighborhood. To meet these goals, the evaluation team performed a secondary data analysis of quantitative surveys from 6 partner markets and conducted a focus group with 17 low- income Peoplestown residents who had never visited a Wholesome Wave Georgia partner market. Findings from the evaluation suggest that knowledge of the program and the cost of transportation are major barriers to participation. Being able to purchase clean, quality, organic, and local foods in bulk, being able to purchase other household items, interacting with farmers, and having activities for children are important to potential participants. Finally, community based outreach, like word-of-mouth and going door-to door, and prioritizing efforts directed at seniors may be the most effective strategies for this population.
Date Published: 2013
Author Affiliation: Emory University: Rollins School of Public Health; Wholesome Wave GeorgiaBMI, CSA, Double Value Coupon Program, DVCP, EBT, Electronic Benefits Transfer, Food Insecurity, fruits and vegetables, local foods, Peoplestown, SNAP, Wholesome Wave Georgia, WWG