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Perceived Influences on Farmers' Market Use among Urban, WIC-enrolled Women

Di Noia, Jennifer, Monica, Dorothy, Cullen, Karen Weber, Thompson, Debbe
American Journal of Health Behavior 2017 v.41 no.5 pp. 618-629
consumer attitudes, eating habits, farmers, farmers' markets, focus groups, food safety, freshness, fruits, health behavior, market access, marketing strategies, perceptions (cognitive), purchasing, supermarkets, transportation, urban areas, vegetables, women
Objectives: We identified perceived barriers and facilitators to purchasing fruits and vegetables (FV) at farmers' markets, FV shopping practices, and reactions to a planned online lesson to promote farmers' market use among urban, inner-city WIC-enrolled women. Methods: Thirteen focus groups were conducted with 3-5 participants each (N = 54). Results: Common barriers were structural (transportation issues) and informational (not knowing the locations of markets). Improving access (by increasing the number of area markets, expanding market hours and locations, and increasing transportation options to markets) and raising awareness of the importance of eating healthfully were common facilitators. Information was sought on the locations of farmers who accept FV vouchers provided by WIC, FV sold at farmers' markets, reasons to eat locally grown FV, and FV food safety and preparation skills. Questions were raised about the accessibility of an online lesson; providing information via inperson seminars and handouts also was recommended. Although purchasing FV at supermarkets and corner stores and bodegas was common, concerns were expressed about the freshness, cost, quality, and variety of produce sold at these venues. Conclusions: Findings aid understanding of factors to consider in designing interventions to promote farmers' market use in this population.