Wholesome Wave collects and evaluates data on all of our initiatives. Our data continuously proves that increasing affordability and access to locally grown fruits and vegetables improves health, supports small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolsters local and regional economies.
Executive Summaries & Reports
Wholesome Wave is very proud to celebrate the release of the “Guide for Farmers Markets on Military Installations,” which we created in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Defense (DoD). This guide not only acts as a practical tool for leadership and change-makers in the food access field, but its release represents a seminal moment for the movement, bringing attention to America’s service members and how the food system can better serve them. To download the toolkit, please click here.
Wholesome Wave and University of New England partnered to develop a toolkit intended to provide inspiration and guidance for Nutrition Educators interested in integrating a focus on locally grown food and farmers markets into the approved SNAP-Ed curricula. The lessons and resources provided have been successfully implemented by Nutrition Educators in the field. We encourage you to take advantage of the toolkit as a resource for establishing or building on relationships with local farmers markets, and as a means of introducing class participants to the idea of shopping for foods that are grown or produced locally. While the toolkit was designed for Maine SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educators, it is our hope that others throughout the country will find the toolkit useful. To download the toolkit, please click here.
With a complex set of operational processes, a food hub business has many technology needs. As a food hub business grows, it develops or finds technological solutions, ranging from clipboards to spreadsheets to software packages, to assist in running its operations. To better help food hub operators assess their technology needs and evaluate the options, this Tech Guide for Food Hubs describes a systematic approach for undertaking a technology search process. Prepared by New Venture Advisors, the guide lays out how to assemble a search team, develop a list of technology requirements based on the hub’s operations, build a pipeline of technology solution options, and evaluate and select the right technology. To access the Tech Guide, please click here.
Whether you are an investor considering making an investment in food hubs, a food hub operator preparing for an investment, or a policymaker looking to better understand the food hub sector, Wholesome Wave’s Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit provides you with the tools to evaluate a food hub business’ readiness for investment. The Toolkit provides a framework for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of food hubs along with available data in the areas of business model and strategy, impact potential, market overview, marketing and sales, operations, organization and management, risk mitigation, technology and systems, and finance. To access the Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit, please click here.
Successful organizations need a solid business structure in order to thrive. How To Choose a Business Structure: A Decision Guide is designed to help individuals starting or operating businesses better understand the various legal business structures available to them. Addressing the concerns of food- and non-food-related businesses alike, this Guide clarifies the differences between for-profit corporations, nonprofits, cooperatives, limited liability companies, and other business structures in terms of tax consequences, management of risk and liability, governance concerns, and more. To access the Decision Guide, please click here.
Healthy Food Incentive Studies
Double Value Coupon Program Shopping and Behavior Study
This study found that Double Value Coupon Program participants’ fruit and vegetable consumption increased during the 16-week program and stayed higher after the study ended. Click here to download.
Healthy Food Incentives Cluster Evaluation
Wholesome Wave, in partnership with Fair Food Network, Roots of Change, and Market Umbrella, collaborated on a national cluster evaluation of farmers market incentive programs. Results of this study found that healthy food incentive programs at farmers markets increase consumption of fruits and vegetables in low-income communities, increase revenue for small and mid-sized farms, and strengthen local economies.
Enhancing the diet quality of economically disadvantaged households in the United States has long been a policy goal. Recently, select local governments and nonprofit organizations have augmented federal policy by offering federal nutrition beneficiaries vouchers, for use at farmers markets, to match their expenditures at the market. Such incentive vouchers enhance purchasing power of low-income households. Because the incentives can be used only on fresh produce, diet quality has the potential to improve. A longitudinal pilot study examined the effectiveness of such incentives on the frequency of the vegetable consumption of 300 economically disadvantaged women in five farmers markets, in three cities, in the United States. Participants who visited food bank or pantries and those living in areas with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables were most likely to drop out of the study. For those remaining in the study, those with low levels of education and low levels of fresh produce consumption were most likely to increase vegetable consumption.
Consumers living in food deserts lack geographic access to food; those same consumers are often low-income and thus face additional constraints to purchasing foods. New programs address the geographic and financial aspects of food access. One program, administered by Wholesome Wave, pairs financial incentives and healthy food purchases. Analysis of consumer survey data showed statistical evidence that consumers from areas with low food access, who were also income constrained, were the most likely to perceive that their consumption was higher. The findings point to the promise of the combination of markets and incentives for reducing barriers to healthy food consumption.
Linking Farmers, Healthy Foods, and Underserved Consumers: Exploring the Impact of Nutrition Incentive Programs on Farmers and Farmers’ Markets, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, July 2012
This article relies on data from markets providing nutrition incentive programming in 2010 and a survey of participating farmers in order to study federal nutrition benefit and incentive usage at the markets and to provide preliminary results about the type of farmers and markets that might benefit most from incentive programming. The farmers’ market data show that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) redemption has increased substantially (usually doubling or more annually) in markets offering incentives. The analysis of farmer surveys revealed that both farmer and market characteristics are important to the impact of incentives on participating farmer sales.
This true farmers’ market story was made possible because of an innovative nutrition-incentive program that doubles the value of food stamps when used at select farmers’ markets in low-income urban and rural areas. What’s fascinating is that this incentive program bears a striking resemblance to program attributes of the original 1939 Food Stamp Plan that was once popular among a majority of Americans. Today, however, a program that for seven decades has helped feed millions of Americans living at or below the poverty level is being challenged. With the 2012 federal Farm Bill debate underway, lawmakers and advocates are reviewing the potential health and economic impacts of the nearly $100 billion invested annually in American’s food-assistance programs, close to 80 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) overall budget.
Utilization of Community Benefits to Improve Health Food Access in Massachusetts
Healthcare Without Harm released this report with the support of Health Resources in Action and the Massachusetts Convergence Partnership to investigate “the ways in which hospitals across the Commonwealth were engaged in efforts to improve healthy food access for vulnerable communities as a strategy to address chronic diet-related diseases.” The report cites Wholesome Wave’s FVRx program as an example of the efficacy of food access interventions.