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WIC & Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs

Health Factors: Diet & Exercise
Decision Makers: State Government
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs (FMNP) are part of both the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Senior Nutrition Program. These programs provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to participating women, children, and seniors. The federal FMNP benefit ranges from $10 to $30 per year; states may supplement this amount if they choose to (USDA-FMNP). 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased access to fruits & vegetables
Increased fruit & vegetable consumption

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that WIC and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs (FMNPs) improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, although this effect appears limited by the program’s benefit amount (Racine 2010, Johnson 2004, Joy 2001). WIC and Senior FMNPs are a suggested strategy to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables (CDC-Fruits and vegetables 2011, CDC MMWR-Khan 2009, ADA-Stang 2010). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm the magnitude of effect and ideal benefit amounts to affect consumption choices. 

Participating in WIC FMNP can increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption by approximately one full serving for low income women (Racine 2010, Joy 2001). Senior FMNP home delivery can increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by approximately one full serving and increase the percentage of seniors consuming the recommended 5 or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables (Johnson 2004). In locations with state supplements, WIC and Senior FMNP have been shown to positively affect attitudes toward fruit and vegetable consumption as well as amount consumed (Anderson 2001, Herman 2008, Evans-Gates 2005).

Researchers suggest that increasing the federal benefit, or supplementing it with state funds, could increase the program’s potential impact (USDA-Fox 2004). Program enhancements such as coordinating FMNP promotion, developing nutrition education resources, and increasing collaboration with other state-level agencies can increase the utilization of FMNP benefits (Conrey 2003).

An economic analysis of FMNP suggests that the program generates social benefits at a low cost; costs for non-participants are less than $0.02 annually (Just 1997).


United States

Agencies in 36 states and the District of Columbia support the Senior FMNP and the WIC FMNP (WIC Farmers market state agencies). The Community Food Security Coalition highlights opportunities and barriers for WIC clients to use benefits at farmers markets and policies to address these barriers (WIC-Farmers Markets 2009).

The CDC highlights Maine as a state that successfully uses the Senior FMNP to bring fresh produce to seniors (CDC-5 a day).


Wisconsin offers both WIC (WI DHS-WIC FMNP) and Senior FMNP (WI DHS-Senior FMNP).

Citations - Description

USDA-FMNP - US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). WIC Farmers’ market nutrition program (FMNP). Accessed on February 7, 2017

Citations - Evidence

ADA-Stang 2010* - Stang J, Bayerl CT. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Child and adolescent nutrition assistance programs. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110(5):791-9. Accessed on November 23, 2015
Anderson 2001* - Anderson JV, Bybee DI, Brown RM, et al. 5 A day fruit and vegetable intervention improves consumption in a low income population. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2001;101(2):195-202. Accessed on November 30, 2015
CDC MMWR-Khan 2009 - Khan LK, Sobush K, Keener D, et al. Recommended community strategies and measurements to prevent obesity in the United States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 2009;58(RR-07):1-26. Accessed on December 7, 2015
CDC-Fruits and vegetables 2011 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Strategies to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases: The CDC guide to strategies to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS); 2011. Accessed on March 1, 2017
Conrey 2003 - Conrey EJ, Frongillo EA, Dollahite JS, Griffin MR. Integrated program enhancements increased utilization of farmers’ market nutrition program. Journal of Nutrition. 2003;133(6):1841-4. Accessed on December 10, 2015
Evans-Gates 2005 - Evans-Gates D. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among low income pregnant women and young children in the WIC farmers' market nutrition program. Philadelphia: American Public Health Association (APHA) 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition; 2005. Accessed on February 4, 2016
Herman 2008 - Herman DR, Harrison GG, Afifi AA, Jenks E. Effect of a targeted subsidy on intake of fruits and vegetables among low-income women in the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. American Journal of Public Health. 2008;98(1):98-105. Accessed on February 17, 2016
Johnson 2004 - Johnson DB, Beaudoin S, Smith LT, Beresford SAA, LoGerfo JP. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake in homebound elders: The Seattle senior farmers' market nutrition pilot program. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2004;1(1):A03. Accessed on March 14, 2016
Joy 2001 - Joy AB, Bunch S, Davis M, Fujii J. USDA program stimulates interest in farmers' markets among low-income women. California Agriculture. 2001;55(3):38-41. Accessed on February 17, 2016
Just 1997* - Just RE, Weninger Q. Economic evaluation of the farmers' market nutrition program. American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 1997;79(3):902-17. Accessed on March 1, 2016
Racine 2010* - Racine EF, Smith Vaughn A, Laditka SB. Farmers' market use among African-American women participating in the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110(3):441-6. Accessed on May 24, 2016
USDA-Fox 2004 - Fox MK, Hamilton W, Lin BH. Effects of food assistance and nutrition programs on nutrition and health: WIC farmers’ market nutrition program. Washington, DC: Economic Research Service (ERS), US Department of Agriculture (USDA); 2004:3: FANRR-19-3. Accessed on February 10, 2017

Citations - Implementation

CDC-5 a day - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 5 A day works! Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS); 2005. Accessed on March 1, 2017
WI DHS-Senior FMNP - Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). Senior farmers’ market nutrition program. Accessed on November 18, 2015
WI DHS-WIC FMNP - Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). WIC farmers’ market nutrition program (FMNP). Accessed on November 9, 2015
WIC Farmers market state agencies - Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). WIC farmers’ market state agencies. US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Accessed on November 24, 2015
WIC-Farmers Markets 2009 - Tessman N, Fisher A. State implementation of the new WIC produce package: Opportunities and barriers for WIC clients to use their benefits at farmers’ markets. Portland: Community Food Security Coalition; 2009. Accessed on February 1, 2016

Page Last Updated

January 9, 2014

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