Specialty Crop Nutrition Education and Promotion Program
Peak of Season
California’s direct-to-consumer specialty crop industry- particularly small and mid-sized farms that are unable to meet supply demands for large food retailers- face challenges in sustained growth and profitability. The Specialty Crop Nutrition Education & Promotion Program (SCNEPP) aimed to address this by bolstering promotional marketing efforts in farmers’ markets to increase consumer demand and specialty crop sales.
SCNEPP was conducted between November 2020 and December 2022 across six SEE-LA farmers’ markets and one non-SEE-LA farmer’s market. Programming included Peak of Season promotional and festival events, nutrition education, social media campaign, and healthy retail marketing strategies.
Peak of Season events were held quarterly at six SEE-LA farmers’ markets, with each one featuring seasonal California grown specialty crops. Events celebrated specialty crops to increase consumer awareness of and demand for locally sourced specialty crops.
Events also focused on encouraging specialty crop consumption through healthy eating habits by increasing knowledge of how to produce, prepare, or preserve specialty crops.
A total of 70 adult and 29 youth nutrition education classes were conducted at three SEE-LA farmers’ markets, a partnering farmers’ market, and at a partnering organization adjacent to SEE-LA’s farmers’ market. To optimize the program’s impact on behavior change, classes blended evidence-based nutrition with recipe demonstrations or hands-on food preparation of specialty crops.
Training, coaching, and technical assistance focusing on healthy food retailer marketing practices of California grown specialty crops were offered to SEE-LA farm vendors through the SCNEPP program.
Specialty crop producers were trained to use strategies such as pricing, promotions, and visual enhancements to build demand for specialty crops. SCNEPP integrated behavioral economics and social media marketing strategies to secure maximum reach and efficacy in awareness, demand, and education. Live-streamed food demonstrations, step-by-step recipe videos, and monthly specialty crop producer profiles expanded nutrition and specialty crop messaging to a broader potential customer base of Angelenos.