Special events are a great way to promote the Kentucky Double Dollars program as well as spread the word that your farmers market accepts SNAP or nutritional incentives.
1.) CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT FIRST.
Your local health department really is the best resource for connecting to potential participants in KDD. Can you host a special event there to promote the program? Particularly if your health department has special events already, try to be sure the market has a presence there to help promote KDD. Some markets have had one day markets at their health department to help spread the word.
2.) COORDINATE WITH OTHER EVENTS.
Check with your local tourism or government office for a list of events in your community. Are there are events that make sense to partner up with? Perhaps market vendors could do a mini market at a large local event or you could do a tie-in activity at the market to something else going on in the area. These sorts of one-off events differentiate your farmers market and hopefully pull in a different demographic from your regular customers, including potential KDD participants.
3.) PULL IN THOSE COMMUNITY PARTNERS YOU’VE MADE.
Talk to your community partners about how they can participate. Would they like to sponsor a musical act? Could they do some sort of health checkup? Could they hand out free reusable grocery bags with their logo? Another Saturday at market may not be of interest for their participation, whereas Earth Day or Health & Wellness day might. If you get someone to agree, don’t be shy—ask them what professional colleagues they have at other organizations who may be interested in joining in the fun!
4.) THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.
Since the farmers market is already an event of sorts, what can transform your one time event into something different? Some ideas include:
- Live music
- One time vendors that are different from regular vendors
- Face painting
- Sno cones
- Craft activities for kids
- Chalk sidewalk art
- Pet days
5.) TIE IT BACK TO KENTUCKY DOUBLE DOLLARS.
Of course not all events hosted by the market will be related to Kentucky Double Dollars. (Although we definitely wouldn’t mind if they were!) However, there are lots of ways special events can help support the program:
- Put up fliers about the event around town—be sure to highlight that attendees can get their SNAP dollars doubled.
- Use contest or special vendor fees to help cover your KDD match funds.
- Coordinate timing with the release of WIC FMNP or SFMNP funds if you know when that is happening.
6.) PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE.
- Be sure to send a press release to your local news outlet before every event and also after—you never know when they might have extra space to cover your story.
- Consider a live radio broadcast—it could be much cheaper than you think. In some cases, the radio station will get businesses to sponsor the broadcast so that there is no actual cost to the market beyond space for the radio to set up.
- Fliers, fliers, fliers—paper the town with them!
- Social media—don’t forget to create a Facebook event and invite vendors and attendees so people can help spread the word.