- This MPP essay examines how states expand access to nutritious food for low-income families, focusing specifically on policies related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and farmers’ markets. Coalitions made up of nonprofits focused on hunger, farmers, and health collaborate to impact relevant policies in their respective states. The purpose of this research is to address how and why these policies differ from state to state by answering the following questions: (a) What factors influence the level of support states provide to farmers’ markets so they are accessible to low-income households?; (b) What role do advocacy groups play at the state level in setting this agenda? The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) provides a structure for comparing case studies of Mississippi, Oregon, and Oklahoma advocacy groups and their role in advocating for policies that expand access to farmers’ markets. All three states are marked by a lack of direct conflict on the issue, changes driven by shifting federal policies, wide-reaching collaboration within advocacy coalitions, and resource limitations. Lessons of this analysis potentially relevant to other advocacy coalitions include the positive impact of nonprofits dedicated to specific policy areas, active collaboration between nonprofits and state agencies expands access and increases awareness, and a diverse range of advocate groups leads to practical solutions.
Keywords: Food Insecurity, Food Security, SNAP, Advocacy Coalition Framework, ACF, farmers’ markets, advocacy groups