Background: Healthy food access is a problem in San Bernardino City, California with reports of more global-chain retail food outlets compared to fresh produce places like farmers’ markets.
Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to explore implications for Community-Supported-Agriculture Farmshares as alternative food networks that could also bridge the food access gap in the city.
Methodology: We enrolled 182 participants into two groups, aged 18 years and older, one per family. We measured participants’ biometrics [weights, body mass indices, % body fat, and % muscle], self-reported health quality of life, and produce consumption patterns at the beginning and after eight weeks of the program. Group-1 (n = 76) received once weekly- Farmshare produce, one-hour weekly health education classes, and they participated in a one-hour weekly physical activity (PA). Group-2 (n = 106) participated in one-hour weekly PA session. Differences in study’s endpoints [biometrics, produce consumption patterns, and participants’ intentions towards produce choices] were compared between the groups prior to the intervention and after eight weeks. Using the grounded theory approach, we investigated factors that could influence participants’ produce choices.
Results: When analyzed by groups, Farmshare/exercise/education participants experienced a 4-point drop in their beats/minute heart rates after 8 weeks: Baseline heart rates (Mean = 74.8, SE = 1.8); after eight weeks (M = 70.6, SE = 1.4), t(39) = –2.51, p-value = 0.016. Daily fruits and vegetable consumption increased 1.2 significant points in the Farmshare/exercise/education group; Baseline M = 5.7, SE = 0.41; after 8 weeks M = 6.9, SE = 0.35, t(45) = 3.32, p-value = 0.002. Qualitatively, 15 participants were interviewed on factors influencing their produce choices; from the analyses, the basic social process’ core category “Barriers” was identified and clustered into five key factors: Cost, Time [preparation], Preference, Accessibility, and Lack of awareness. Of 76 participants who received the Farmshare intervention, 22 (29%) were willing to continue after intervention’s completion; they started saving money towards future Farmshares with a program accountant.
Implications: Farmshare programs could be viable options for healthy food access in disadvantaged settings, however, there are barriers that need to be addressed, for example, enlightenment on utilizing food assistance vouchers for Farmshares and implementing policies which make healthy foods more accessible.
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|Advisor:||Herring, Patti R.|
|Commitee:||Ghamsary, Mark, Handysides, Daniel, Modeste, Naomi|
|School:||Loma Linda University|
|Department:||Health Promotion and Education|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Agriculture, Nutrition, Health education|
|Keywords:||Alternative food networks, CSA, Community supported agriculture, Farmshare, Fruits and vegetables, Organic farming|
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