White Mountain Apache Farmers Market

White Mountain Apache Farmers Market

Awardee: Indian Health Service/White Mountain Apache
Location: Whiteriver, AZ

About Indian Health Service/White Mountain Apache

The Whiteriver Indian Hospital serves the Apache Tribes of the White Mountains by providing emergency care, as well as non-emergent and preventative care. As a part of the Community Nutrition Department, we strive to reduce the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and other nutrition related-diseases by working with the tribe to implement education programs in various settings, from Head Start to Elderly Feeding Sites

About the Project

Project Goal:

Our project goal is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by increasing access and affordability of fresh produce. 

“We were excited to hear that we finally have a farmer’s market on the reservation.”

Multiple sources

Opportunities Communities Face

  • Farmer’s market that features the local farm, advertise them, and increase their income so they can thrive
  • Focus on making the community more self-reliant and sustainable
  • Revert to healthier eating habits by bring back whole foods, such as fresh, locally grown fruits/vegetables

Adapting the CDC Winnable Battles to Our Nation's Needs

We reintroduced the community to cultural crops of their past by providing traditional cooking and food preparation demonstrations at the farmers markets to show attendees how to use local fruits and vegetables. We honored the local culture by encouraging cultural clothing and having the crops blessed by a respected, local elder.  The local Apache ran farm was one of our vendors as well as one of the distribution sites being at the hospital to encourage both patients and staff to attend.

Our Impact on the Community 

  • Community Involvement
    • Partnering with local tribal programs assisted with the distribution of surveys, marketing, and networking opportunities 
    • Increased community participation in farmers market by supplying coupons for WIC recipients to use and created an incentive program so that every $10 spent on fruit and vegetables, WIC recipients received an additional $2 coupon to use at the farmers market
    • Participants report that they are able to buy more produce because it is affordable, better quality and easily accessible at the SNAP farmers market
  • Farmer's Market
    • Established a monthly USDA certified farmers market in an isolated and high needs community on Tribal land that is capable of accepting SNAP benefits
    • Two organizations came together to establish a bank account and manage the EBT system and funds
    • Established a monthly USDA certified farmers market in an isolated and high needs community on Tribal land that is capable of accepting SNAP benefits
  • Future Plans
    • Approved by the Farmers Market Coalition to receive free SNAP equipment for 3 years
    • Local, tribal farm involved with decision-making process for farmers market and will assume responsibility long-term

Lessons Learned through Implementing this Program

  • Change and getting many organizations on the same page and involved takes a lot of time and repeated follow ups
  • Farmer’s market as learning and teaching opportunity
  • Allow enough time for collaboration and make sure to follow up and send reminders about timelines
  • Don’t involve too many people because it makes decision making more difficult