Farmers' market use is associated with fruit and vegetable consumption in diverse southern rural communities

Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts, Alison Gustafson, Qiang Wu, Mariel Leah Mayo, Rachel K. Ward, Jared T. McGuirt, Ann P. Rafferty, Mandee F. Lancaster, Kelly R. Evenson, Thomas C. Keyserling, Alice S. Ammerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: While farmers' markets are a potential strategy to increase access to fruits and vegetables in rural areas, more information is needed regarding use of farmers' markets among rural residents. Thus, this study's purpose was to examine (1) socio-demographic characteristics of participants; (2) barriers and facilitators to farmers' market shopping in southern rural communities; and (3) associations between farmers' market use with fruit and vegetable consumption and body mass index (BMI). Methods. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted with a purposive sample of farmers' market customers and a representative sample of primary household food shoppers in eastern North Carolina (NC) and the Appalachian region of Kentucky (KY). Customers were interviewed using an intercept survey instrument at farmers' markets. Representative samples of primary food shoppers were identified via random digit dial (RDD) cellular phone and landline methods in counties that had at least one farmers' market. All questionnaires assessed socio-demographic characteristics, food shopping patterns, barriers to and facilitators of farmers' market shopping, fruit and vegetable consumption and self-reported height and weight. The main outcome measures were fruit and vegetable consumption and BMI. Descriptive statistics were used to examine socio-demographic characteristics, food shopping patterns, and barriers and facilitators to farmers' market shopping. Linear regression analyses were used to examine associations between farmers' market use with fruit and vegetable consumption and BMI, controlling for age, race, education, and gender. Results: Among farmers' market customers, 44% and 55% (NC and KY customers, respectively) reported shopping at a farmers' market at least weekly, compared to 16% and 18% of NC and KY RDD respondents. Frequently reported barriers to farmers' market shopping were market days and hours, "only come when I need something", extreme weather, and market location. Among the KY farmers' market customers and NC and KY RDD respondents, fruit and vegetable consumption was positively associated with use of farmers' markets. There were no associations between use of farmers' markets and BMI. Conclusions: Fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with farmers' market shopping. Thus, farmers' markets may be a viable method to increase population-level produce consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalNutrition Journal
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 9 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and expertise of Thomas Crawford in the East Carolina University Department of Geography, Megan Waggy with the ECU Center for Survey Research, and Ronald Langley with the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Center for Survey Research. We also thank the willing farmers’ market customers and county residents surveyed for their participation. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI) award number 5R03CA155362-02 and The University of Kentucky Research Foundation and National Institute of Health/Institute on Minority Health and Disparities. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the NIH/NCI.

Keywords

  • Farmers' market
  • Fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Obesity
  • Random digit dial
  • Rural communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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