Honors Project - Open Access
In June of 2019, the Trump Administration proposed a policy that could result in three million people losing access to food stamp benefits. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps, is a governmental food aid program designed to help low-income individuals and families combat food insecurity across the country. According to Minnesota Hunger Solutions, in 2017, 9.5% of Minnesota households were food insecure. In the Twin Cities, SNAP benefits have been accepted at a selection of farmers’ markets since 2003 in order to improve accessibility of fresh, local produce. This paper utilizes a mixed method approach, including qualitative interviews with SNAP participants and key informants, to evaluate the effectiveness of SNAP in the context of three farmers’ markets in the Twin Cities. While research in this field has examined various individual and community coping strategies used to combat food insecurity, little work focuses on the link between SNAP and farmers’ markets as one option for providing local, healthy and affordable food. This paper implements both a broad political ecology framework to analyze the history and implementation of food assistance, and embodiment geography to examine the individual experience at farmers’ markets. Preliminary findings demonstrate the need to provide more comprehensive information to low income shoppers about the restrictions of SNAP, while also ensuring adequate accessibility to farmers’ markets. This research seeks to highlight the applicability of political ecology and embodiment geography to understand relationships at farmers’ markets and enhance food policy.
Alhadeff, Sophia, "Canvas Totes and Plastic Bags: The Political Ecology of Food Assistance Effectiveness at Farmers' Markets in the Twin Cities" (2020). Geography Honors Projects. 62.
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