California’s State Nutrition Action Council (SNAC)

California’s SNAC is a state-level collaborative with active representation from all state agencies and nonprofits that implement USDA programs. Together, the SNAC partnering organizations reach underserved people throughout their life span, providing food benefits, nutrition education and obesity prevention services.

SNAC Mission

About 10 years ago, State Nutrition Action Councils (SNAC) were established in Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Regions to maximize nutrition education efforts and improve coordination and cooperation among the State agencies, FNS nutrition assistance programs, public health agencies, and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

In FFY 2017, USDA required states to establish a SNAC to align nutrition and obesity prevention activities across programs. SNACs are encouraged to use the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework as a tool to help plan and evaluate SNAC and state level partnerships.

Farmers Market Initiative (FMI)

By partnering with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for the initiative, SNAC is promoting utilization of Market Match, a program that allows CalFresh participants to stretch their food dollars spent at farmers markets. SNAC is also promoting other programs that help low-income Californians magnify their buying power at participating markets, such as the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) FMNP vouchers and WIC Fruit and Veggie monthly coupons. Shoppers can use their CalFresh benefits at participating farmers markets and receive a matching dollar amount (up to approximately $10) to spend on fruits and vegetables at the same market.

Participant Outreach

Many CalFresh participants don’t shop at farmers markets or haven’t heard of the Market Match incentive program. Additionally, they may not know about the WIC and FMNP benefits; therefore, SNAC has developed an outreach plan to encourage low income shoppers to get more at participating farmers markets and use their nutrition benefits there.

Market Applications

Since all markets in areas of high CalFresh eligibility do not participate in the Market Match program, SNAC will conduct outreach to market coordinators, encouraging them to apply to have their markets participate in the Market Match program.

Pilot Intervention Locations

SNAC has identified six counties for this second phase of the Farmers Market Initiative where promotional, outreach and activities will be amplified through state and local partnerships:

  1. Fresno County
  2. Riverside County
  3. San Bernardino County
  4. San Joaquin County
  5. Stanilaus County
  6. Tulare County

These six counties encompass both rural and urban locations, have a high concentration of CalFresh participants and have existing services from a majority of SNAC partners.

Timeline

SNAC intends to begin working with markets in these six counties in May. The pilot phase will take place over an 18 -week period from May through the end of August.

Evaluation

The aim of the evaluation is to measure short-term and medium-term outcomes of California’s SNAC work to promote Market Match and other programs that help low-income Californians increase their buying power at farmers markets.Through in-depth interviews with market staff, logging of promotional activities, and tracking of actual dollars spent, SNAC will document lessons learned through new partnerships and assess the efficacy of the SNAC Farmers Market Initiative.

How Local Partners Can Help

In the six intervention counties, SNAC will reach out to local partners and agencies to support the initiative.

SNAC will need to draw on the expertise and connections of local partners to reach CalFresh shoppers and promote the messages encouraging them to take advantage of the discounted opportunities for fresh, California produce. This can include incorporating new Market Match outreach messages into existing text message and direct mailer campaigns, posting on social media, and posting flyers and banners at various locations. Local partners will be provided with outreach materials that they can disseminate, including brochures, posters, flyers, and postcards. Partners can participate in various activities, depending on their agency size, staffing, and funding. This table provides a snapshot of ways that partners can participate in the SNAC initiative. Efforts can be coordinated across the county among local SNAC partners so that no one agency is trying to do it all.

Resources