Farmers Markets Support Healthy Communities

  • Studies of Los Angeles farmers market shoppers reveal that 75% came to market to do more than shop, 55% felt the market increased their connection to community, 99% believed the market improves the health of the community, and 53% believed the market improves perceptions of the neighborhood.
  • A study by the Project for Public Spaces revealed that people who shop at farmers markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, while they would only have one or two per visit to the grocery store. Evidence of the clear correlations between social interaction and health mean the social space at farmers markets has important public health implications.
  • The American Fitness Index includes the number of farmers markets per capita as a factor contributing to healthier communities, using it as an indicator for community members’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Proximity to farmers markets was associated with lower body mass index (BMI) among North Carolina youth, while density of fast-food and pizza venues was associated with higher BMI.
  • 92% of farmers markets have vendors that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Market managers report that 45% of the produce sold at farmers markets is organic, and more than 30% is chemical-free and pesticide-free.
  • In 2011, 65 farmers markets participated in Health Bucks, a New York City SNAP incentive program. Two-thirds of SNAP participants surveyed say that Health Bucks increased their fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • Low-income diabetic shoppers increased their fruit and vegetable intake by 1.6 servings per day using an incentive program based at a farmers market located at a health center.
  • Over 90% of participants in Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program agreed or strongly agreed that the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that they purchased at the market made a big difference in their family’s diet.

“We were eager to be a part of the Charlottesville community and go downtown and explore the city….It’s really valuable to go to a farmers market and see that your college is a part of an already thriving community ecosystem. And you’re there to add to that.” Natalie Roper, Student, University of Virginia