Challenge 1: Farmers Market Directory
With nearly 2 million page views per year, the USDA National Farmers Market Directory is one of the Department of Agriculture’s most popular consumer search engines. Over 7,800 farmers markets across the country have voluntarily listed themselves, and the directory issearchable by zip code, product availability, payment method and even if the market participates in federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), Women, Infant and Children (WIC), WIC Cash Value Vouchers (WIC CVV) and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (SFMNP). Being listed in the directory is another way for producers to find opportunities to capture more of the food dollar and for consumers to connect with the men and women who grow their food.
Besides being a marketing tool that offers up a wealth of information for producers and consumers, the USDA National Farmers Market Directory is the go-to resource for decision makers, researchers and community planners focused on issues like food access and creating economic opportunities for rural America.
USDA has made significant improvements to the Directory over the past few years, culminating most recently in the API release. We recognize that for many, a trip to the Farmers Market is an event worth planning – whether you’re on vacation or exploring a new Market, deciding to take an umbrella or sunblock, or trying to find new ways to prepare the fresh, local goods that are in season. Farmers Markets are extremely social spaces and we believe a mobile app that facilitates social interaction and sharing will make the experience even more worthwhile for vendors, customers and the community.
Your mobile apps will help enhance the Farmers Market experience and make trips easier with visualizations, mash-ups with other data, allow social interaction and stimulate healthier communities, digitally and in real life. As such, the mobile app could:
- Allow market visitors to share visual content around their market experience and connect multimedia to a market listing within the app so other users can see what’s available at their local market that day or week;
- Encourage users to share and rate their experiences at the Market through integration with existing social media or networking tools, apps and sites;
- Provide quick access to health, preparation or meal-planning information about available products through the app, answering the question “What can I make with this?” or “How do I prepare this?” for items found at the market
- Assist in planning their trip to the market with geo-location and environmental functionality (directions, weather, local events, parking, subway maps, bus schedules, best walking routes, etc.); or
- Provide e-mail or SMS notifications when certain products or vendors are available at their market.
Type: Mobile Application – Android, iPhone, Windows
- The app should include visualizations and mapping that allow users to navigate local Farmers Markets.
- Mashups with other data and informational resources are encouraged. In particular, health or nutrition, trip planning, food preparation tips, or availability of nutrition assistance programs, are encouraged.
- Farmers Market Directory: http://search.ams.usda.gov/
(API forthcoming by May 23, 2012) farmersmarkets/
- SuperTracker Tips for each food group: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/