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To examine cross-sectional associations between farmers’ market shopping behaviours and objectively measured and self-reported fruit and vegetable (FV) intake among rural North Carolina (NC) and New York City (NYC) shoppers.
Cross-sectional intercept surveys were used to assess self-reported FV intake and three measures of farmers’ market shopping behaviour: (1) frequency of purchasing FV; (2) variety of FV purchased and (3) dollars spent on FV. Skin carotenoids, a non-invasive biomarker for FV intake, were objectively measured using pressure-mediated reflection spectroscopy. Associations between farmers’ market shopping behaviours and FV intake were examined using regression models that controlled for demographic variables (e.g. age, sex, race, smoking status, education, income and state).
Farmers’ markets (n 17 markets) in rural NC and NYC.
A convenience sample of 645 farmers’ market shoppers.
Farmers’ market shoppers in NYC purchased a greater variety of FV and had higher skin carotenoid scores compared with shoppers in rural NC. Among all shoppers, there was a positive, statistically significant association between self-reported frequency of shopping at farmers’ markets and self-reported as well as objectively assessed FV intake. The variety of FV purchased and farmers’ market spending on FV also were positively associated with self-reported FV intake, but not skin carotenoids.
Those who shop for FV more frequently at a farmers’ markets, purchase a greater variety of FV and spend more money on FV have higher self-reported, and in some cases higher objectively measured FV intake. Further research is needed to understand these associations and test causality.
To examine participants’ experiences with nutrition education classes that were implemented with and designed to complement a cost-offset community-supported agriculture (CSA) programme.
Qualitative analysis of data from twenty-eight focus groups with ninety-six participants enrolled in Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK). Transcribed data were coded and analysed by a priori and emergent themes.
Rural and micropolitan communities in New York, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington (USA).
Ninety-six F3HK participants.
Participants found recipes and class activities helpful and reported improvements in nutrition knowledge, food preservation skills and home cooking behaviours for themselves and their children; they also reported that classes promoted a sense of community. Some educators better incorporated CSA produce into lessons, which participants reported as beneficial. Other obligations and class logistics were barriers to attendance; participants recommended that lessons be offered multiple times weekly at different times of day. Other suggestions included lengthening class duration to encourage social engagement; emphasising recipes to incorporate that week’s CSA produce and pantry staples and offering additional strategies to incorporate children in classes.
Complementing a cost-offset CSA with nutrition education may enhance programme benefits to low-income families by improving nutrition knowledge and cooking behaviours. However, future interventions will benefit from ongoing coordination between educators and local growing trajectories to maximise timely coverage of unfamiliar produce in lessons; synchronous scheduling of CSA pick-up and classes for participant convenience and creative strategies to engage children and/or provide childcare.
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