Methods

Key-Informant Interviews

During the fall of 2014, the University of Wisconsin-Extension conducted eight key-informant interviews with project partners, including: market managers and staff (n=5), community partners (public health) (n=1), and county Extension educators (n=8).  Participants were asked a series of questions regarding the following:

  • Perceived barriers FoodShare users face in accessing Wisconsin farmers’ markets
  • Previous and current marketing strategies to reach FoodShare users, both successful and unsuccessful
  • List of community partners or organizations where we might be able to survey FoodShare users

Results were used to determine the best locations for the administration of FoodShare user surveys in communities, to establish a list of marketing strategies used in participating communities to reach FoodShare users, and to determine whether perceived barriers to market participation actually represent barriers faced by FoodShare users.

FoodShare User Surveys

During the summer of 2015, the University of Wisconsin-Extension surveyed a convenience sample of FoodShare participants (n= 272) in five market areas regarding their experiences using FoodShare at their local farmers’ markets. The following shows the breakdown of surveys collected:

  • The Downtown Green Bay, Inc. Farmers’ Market (Green Bay, Brown County): 65 surveys
  • The Fondy Food Center (Milwaukee, Milwaukee County): 76 surveys
  • The Wisconsin Rapids Farmers’ Market (Wisconsin Rapids, Wood County) and the Downtown Steven’s Point Farmers’ Market (Stevens Point, Portage County): 66 surveys
  • The Janesville Farmers’ Market (Janesville, Rock County): 65 surveys

In order to reach FoodShare users experiencing the largest barriers to participating in the markets, surveys were administered in locations where FoodShare eligible individuals would likely be utilizing services, such as food pantries (n=11*), WIC Clinics (n=3), Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP, Wisconsin’s SNAP-Education program) education sessions (n=1), and other community-based (n=1) or faith-based organizations (n=8*).

* Seven of the eleven food pantries were administered through faith-based organizations, therefore, the numbers listed for these two categories are duplicative.

Survey participants were required to meet two criteria in order to participate in the survey: 1) survey takers must be current FoodShare users; and 2) survey takers must be over the age of 18. Participants who did not meet the criteria did not complete the survey. Participants were offered the survey through two different methods: electronically through the use of an iPad, or paper. Reading assistance was offered to all participants and the surveys were available in Spanish.

Survey takers were divided into two sub-groups based on answers to the first two questions:

  • The previous farmers’ market shoppers group (FMS Group): those who have shopped at a farmers’ market at least once in the past (Question #1- Yes Response), and who had attended a farmers’ market at least once in the past 12 months (Question #2).
  • The non farmers’ market shoppers group (NFMS Group): those who have never shopped at a farmers’ market (Question #1- No Response), or those who had not attended a farmers’ market at least once in the past 12 months (Question #2- Never Response).

The FMS Group was asked an additional set of questions regarding their experiences at farmers’ markets. The NFMS Group was directed to skip the questions regarding farmers’ market experiences and continue the survey at a later question. The total responses (n) for each question are listed, and these differences in response groups account for differences in total response rates for each question.

Customer Intercept Surveys

Farmers’ markets employees, trained volunteers, and outreach personnel administered questionnaires to FoodShare users (n=58) who utilized their benefits at four of the five farmers’ markets participating in the project. The following shows the breakdown of surveys collected:

  • The Downtown Green Bay, Inc. Farmers’ Market (Green Bay, Brown County): 25 surveys
  • The Fondy Food Center (Milwaukee, Milwaukee County): 14 surveys
  • The Wisconsin Rapids Farmers’ Market (Wisconsin Rapids, Wood County): 6 surveys
  • Downtown Steven’s Point Farmers’ Market (Stevens Point, Portage County): 13 surveys

The Janesville Farmers’ market was unable to collect any surveys from FoodShare users during the 2016 market season. Markets were asked to survey participants at least once during the months of June, July, and August.