Software startup Prototype1 and Case Western Reserve’s Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) have launched of FM Tracks, a new app designed to help farmers’ markets nationwide manage and evaluate federal nutrition incentive programs.
In April 2015, the USDA awarded the first Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grants, providing $31.5 million to non-profit organizations, including Wholesome Wave, to help make healthy foods more affordable for SNAP participants.
The organization and Case Western Reserve University then developed the idea of a mobile app that would simplify the process of incentive distribution and payouts for farmers markets.
Created for farmers’ market managers and program organizers of local healthy food initiatives, FM Tracks is an iOS app and web-based portal that simplifies the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) nutrition incentive collection process by offering a single platform for inputting, organizing and evaluating incentive data. The app also gives users in-depth reporting tools and real-time information regarding market performance and trends.
“We’re incredibly excited to debut FM Tracks and believe it will change the way nutrition incentive programs are accepted and managed by farmers markets nationwide,” said Dr. Darcy Freedman, Associate Director of the PRCHN. “The FM Tracks app directly addresses the pain points of the pen-and-paper process by offering a streamlined solution to enter and process data, saving staff time and money. With FM Tracks, organizers may increase their reach and have a better understanding of their market and their customers.”
To define the app’s requirements and design a scalable platform, Prototype1 worked with the PRCHNs academic team and funding partner, Wholesome Wave, a U.S nonprofit organization that creates partnership-based programs to increase affordable access to healthy food. Using high-fidelity prototypes, Prototype1 tested the app on end-users early in the process to validate the final product’s features and functionality.
FM Tracks is one of the only platforms available that enables farmers’ markets to share valuable data with researchers that study the implications of healthy food programs and initiatives in local communities.