Last Updated: May 2016.
Author: Division of Maternal and Child Health, WIC program, Vermont Department of Health
The WIC Famers Market Nutrition Program, known in Vermont as Farm to Family, is not part of the WIC program, it is a separate USDA program with the dual purpose of increasing the number of farmers markets in participating states and increasing WIC participants’ consumption of fresh produce. In Vermont, the program is managed by DCF Economic Services Division. The program does not have sufficient funding to provide coupons to all eligible WIC participants, so WIC uses Farm to Family coupons as an incentive for families to participate in nutrition education activities designed to support fruit and vegetable consumption. District offices focus on providing nutrition education and coupon distribution at the farmers markets, so that families can use their coupons immediately. Families also have the option to participate in an on-line nutrition education class, and to then pick up coupons at the district office at a time that is convenient for them.
After declining for several years, redemption has been slowly increasing since 2011, and remained steady at 75% in 2014 and 2015. At the end of the 2015 season, the DCF program manager retired, causing the 2016 program to have a delayed start. This may have a paradoxical effect, if coupon distribution slightly later in the season means that more produce is available when a family visits the market for the first time.