Exploring experiences and perceived program outcomes of low-income adults participating in the British Columbia Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program
AdvisorLee Olstad, Dana
Committee MemberMilaney, Katrina J.
Lashewicz, Bonnie M.
farmers’ market food subsidy program
Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program
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AbstractIntroduction: The British Columbia Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (BC FMNCP) is a food subsidy program that provides low-income households coupons valued at $21/week for 16 weeks to purchase healthy foods in BC farmers’ markets, along with nutrition skill-building activities. Objectives: Two studies were conducted. The overarching purpose of these studies was to explore experiences and perceived program outcomes of low-income adults participating in the FMNCP, and provide suggestions to enhance participants’ experiences and outcomes of farmers’ market food subsidy programs. Methods: Both studies used qualitative description methodology. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with FMNCP participants during the 2019 farmers’ market season and post-program. These data were first analyzed cross-sectionally using directed content analysis. The initial coding scheme was guided by Freedman et al.’s theoretical framework, followed by inductive coding of data that did not fit within the framework. Data were then analyzed longitudinally to generate themes that described changes, differences, and similarities in participants’ experiences and perceived outcomes during and after the FMNCP. Results: Three themes emerged from the first cross-sectional analysis. The first theme was related to how the FMNCP promoted a sense of autonomy and dignity for participants. The second theme was related to how the FMNCP increased social connections and fostered a sense of community for participants. The third theme highlighted constraints experienced by participants, such as limited food variety in rural farmers’ markets and challenges with redeeming coupons. Three themes emerged from the longitudinal analysis. The first theme related to how participants’ experiences and perceived outcomes were temporary and changed after the FMNCP. The second theme outlined lasting experiences and outcomes that resulted from participating in the FMNCP. The third theme focused on participants’ suggestions to improve the FMNCP to better meet their needs. Conclusions: Participation in the FMNCP facilitated access to nutritious foods and enhanced participants’ diet quality and health. Yet, many experiences and perceived outcomes were temporary due to the time-limited nature of the program. Findings may help improve or expand farmers’ market food subsidy programs to better meet the needs of low-income households.
CitationCaron-Roy, S. (2021). Exploring experiences and perceived program outcomes of low-income adults participating in the British Columbia Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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