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Can a shift in the purchase of local foods by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients impact the local economy?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2018


Florence A. Becot
Affiliation:
School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, 210 Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH43210, USA
Marilyn Sitaker
Affiliation:
The Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW, Olympia, WA98505, USA
Jane M. Kolodinsky
Affiliation:
Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont, 206 Morrill Hall, BurlingtonVT05405, USA
Emily H. Morgan
Affiliation:
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 415 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY14853, USA
Weiwei Wang
Affiliation:
Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont, 206 Morrill Hall, BurlingtonVT05405, USA
Jennifer Garner
Affiliation:
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 415 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY14853, USA
Alice Ammerman
Affiliation:
Schools of Public Health and Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC27599-8140, USA
Stephanie Jilcott Pitts
Affiliation:
Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Lakeside Annex 8, Room 126, 600 Moye Boulevard, Greenville, NC27834, USA
Rebecca A. Seguin
Affiliation:
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 415 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY14853, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

In recent years, several initiatives have sought to encourage redemption of food assistance benefits at direct-to-consumer (DTC) market venues such as community supported agriculture programs and farmers’ markets in the USA, with the dual goal of increasing access to healthy foods for low-income families and sales of locally-grown foods for farmers. Proponents of these interventions assert that these programs have a positive impact on local economies yet there is limited evidence to validate this argument. This research project used a customized input-output model to simulate potential economic impacts of programs and policies that enable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to shift purchases from traditional food retailers to DTC venues in four states. Two different scenarios were explored: (1) increased outreach to low-income consumers and (2) financial support for using SNAP benefits at DTC market channels. We found a positive, though modest, economic impact at the state level under both scenarios when accounting for (a) business losses in the food retail and wholesale sectors, (b) a shift in acreage from commodity to specialty crops and (c) the cost to taxpayers. Since most of the increased economic activity would be in the produce farming sector, we discuss the opportunities and challenges for this sector along with potential policy implications.


Type
Research Paper
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018

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Footnotes

*

Most of the work was completed while at the University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies.


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Can a shift in the purchase of local foods by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients impact the local economy?
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