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Experiences and Perceived Outcomes of Low-Income Adults During and After Participating in the British Columbia Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program: A Longitudinal Qualitative Study

Published:March 27, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2022.03.016

      Abstract

      Background

      The British Columbia Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP) is a farmers’ market food subsidy program that provides low-income households with coupons valued at $21/wk for 16 weeks to purchase healthy foods at participating BC Association of Farmers’ Markets members’ markets.

      Objective

      This study aimed to explore changes, differences, and similarities in participants’ experiences and perceived short-term outcomes during and after participating in the FMNCP.

      Design

      A longitudinal qualitative research approach was used to conduct a recurrent cross-sectional analysis. Data generation and analysis were guided by Freedman et al’s theoretical framework of nutritious food access. Data generation occurred during 2019 FMNCP program (time 1) and 4 to 7 weeks after (time 2) the program year ended. Data at each time point were analyzed separately using directed content analysis, followed by a comparative analysis to identify changes, differences, and similarities between time points.

      Participants

      Twenty-eight adult participants were interviewed during the program; 24 were re-interviewed post program.

      Setting

      Three communities in British Columbia, Canada.

      Results

      Three themes were generated: temporary relief and engagement; lasting experiences and outcomes; enhancing participant experiences and outcomes. The first theme related to how participants’ experiences and perceived outcomes, such as increased financial support and improved diet quality and health, were temporary. The second theme reflected positive lasting experiences and outcomes from participating in the FMNCP, including increased food and nutrition knowledge and enhanced social ties. The third theme focused on enhancing participants’ program experiences and outcomes, including increasing the duration of food subsidies.

      Conclusion

      The FMNCP temporarily enhanced access to nutritious foods and had lasting positive effects on participants’ nutrition-related knowledge and social outcomes. Nevertheless, participants struggled to maintain healthy eating practices post program due to financial constraints. Expanding farmers’ market subsidy programs may improve access to nutritious foods; maintain positive dietary, social, and health outcomes for participants; and reach more low-income households.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      S. Caron-Roy is a graduate student, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      Y. Y. Lee is a graduate student, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      S. A. Sayed is a PhD candidate and a research associate, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      B. Lashewicz is an associate professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      K. Milaney is an associate professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      S. Dunn is a research coordinator, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      H. O’Hara is an executive director, British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

      Biography

      P. Leblanc is a program manager, British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

      Biography

      R. J. L. Prowse is an assistant professor, Department of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

      Biography

      B. Fournier is an associate professor, School of Nursing, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

      Biography

      K. D. Raine is a professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      C. Elliott is a professor, Department of Communication, Media and Film, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

      Biography

      D. L. Olstad is an assistant professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.