FM Tracks is a novel iOS application and web-based portal to collect, manage, and evaluate information about your farmers' market. FM Tracks can be used by other direct-to-consumer markets, including CSAs and mobile markets. Learn more about how market managers have used FM Tracks to build their business here.
- Save Time. Market information can be directly entered into one place.
- Save Money. Reduce staff time spent on recording and processing information.
- Improve Your Market. Use customer information to recruit new customers, increase vendor sales, and make changes to your market.
- Show Impact. Create automatic reports about your market for public use
FM Tracks development is led by Dr. Darcy Freedman through a partnership between Case Western Reserve University, the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health, the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, and Wholesome Wave. It is supported through funding from the Ohio Department of Health, Wholesome Wave, and the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. This innovative partnership brings together researchers and healthy food incentive practitioners to use technology, data, research, and education as tools to:
- Build capacity among healthy food incentive program practitioners to increase affordable access to healthy foods;
- Develop industry standards for uniform healthy food incentive data collection;
- Build an evidence base to educate and build capacity for healthy food incentive policy, systems, and environmental changes.
Through this partnership, Case Western Reserve University and Wholesome Wave will launch FM Tracks, an IOS-based app and website for gathering and organizing farmers market sales and incentive usage while evaluating trends and impact. FM Tracks is now included in the US Department of Agriculture SNAP-Ed Toolkit!
- Users: Intended for use by direct-to-consumer market managers operating one or more markets, and for healthy food incentive network managers organizing programming locally, regionally, or across states.
- Central System for Recording Information: Provides a central portal for sales transactions, recording information about customers, the market, and healthy food incentives.
- Transaction Accounting: Designed to track transaction data, specifically for SNAP/EBT and other federal nutrition benefit programs, as well as credit/debit and cash to make distribution and redemption healthy food incentive funding easy and straightforward.
- Customer Level Data Collection: With the ability to assign unique customer IDs, market managers can now better understand who is shopping at their market, and tailor activities to attract more customers.
- State-of-the-Art Methods for Evaluation: Includes metrics used and approved by the USDA, Farmers Market Coalition, and the US Census to support comparisons to other data sources.
- Real-Time Access to Reporting: Data dashboard provides quick look at market trends and reporting features allow for more careful examination of impact.
FM Tracks is not a system for transacting and transferring money.
FM Tracks Mobile App
Running on an iOS device (iPad, iPad mini), the mobile app is used by market managers to collect information on-site. This includes:
Sales data (e.g., amount of SNAP and incentives distributed, amount of SNAP and incentives redeemed with vendors)
Customer data (e.g., unique customer IDs, zip code, how did they hear about the market)
Market Day information (e.g., weather, number of vendors, any special events)
Health, economic, and community impacts of the market (e.g., do customers report increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables because they are shopping at the market; do they find the market welcoming; do they plan to spend additional money in the neighborhood).
The mobile app replaces the traditional pen-and-paper method of on-site data collection, reducing error and saving time for managers. Data can be entered into the mobile app without an Internet connection.
Access the App through the Apple Store.
FM Tracks Website
The website is used to register your market or network of markets. It provides the capabilities to manage and view all data entered via the mobile app, reporting and exporting functions, the ability to add new markets, and the selection of questions to be asked at market. You can also develop your own questions for your markets and request they be added to the system. Finally, the website also has a manual entry function to allow data collected via pen-and-paper at market to be inputted off-site. With this function, even if your market does not have an iOS device, FM Tracks can be still be used.
FM Tracks is designed for managers operating direct-to-consumer markets (e.g., farmers markets, mobile markets, or CSAs). Markets that use FM Tracks to collect sales, customer, and vendor data at the market are able to use their data for personal accounting, for year-to-year comparisons about market metrics, or to share with advisory boards, funders, or the general public. How can you improve customer service with FM Tracks? Find out here!
To begin collecting data, complete one registration for each market location. A market manager may register up to five market locations under one user ID*. If you have more than five market locations, register as a “Network” first to connect the markets.
* All data entered under the same user ID will be visible to all market locations.
FM Tracks allows for markets to be connected through a Network feature. Networks include local, regional, and multi-state groups operating healthy food incentive programs or groups of 6 or more farmers markets operating at different locations. The Network feature of FM Tracks allows for all markets connected through a Network to share data collected via FM Tracks with a central Network Manager.
Aggregated data collected via FM Tracks is available for analysis. These analyses are informed by a data advisory council. For more information about accessing aggregated data for analysis, please contact Darcy Freedman, PhD, MPH.