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Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture, and Local Food Distribution

The establishment and expansion of effective distribution systems from local farms to urban and rural areas can provide access to healthy food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Healthy and fresh produce may be provided by connecting consumers to producers through

  • Farmers markets (markets can also accept food stamps and WIC coupons for low-income community members),
  • Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) where the public buys subscriptions to received regular baskets of produce from a local farm, and
  • Distribution to institutions, restaurants, and other food outlets.

Resource Library/ White Papers

Project for Public Spaces, Inc. (PPS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build communities. Available at: http://www.pps.org/.

Public markets and community based food systems: making them work in lower-income neighborhoods. Project for Public Spaces, 2003. Available at: http://www.pps.org/pdf/kellogg_report.pdf [PDF - 1.8 MB].

Public markets as a vehicle for upward mobility and social integration. Project for Public Spaces, 2003. Available at: http://www.pps.org/pdf/Ford_Report.pdf [PDF - 2.91 MB].

Hamilton ND. Farmers’ markets rules, regulations and opportunities. National AgLaw Center Publications, 2002. Available at: http://www.law.drake.edu/centers/docs/farmersMarkets.pdf [PDF - 131 KB].

Local Harvest. This Web site locates farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in a specific area, where people can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other organic food items. Community supported agriculture (CSA) sites are also identified. Available at: http://www.localharvest.org/.

U.S. Department of Agriculture List of Community Supported Agriculture Resources. Available at: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml.

The Food Bank Farm of Western Massachusetts serves 800 community supported agriculture (CSA) resource shareholders who purchase seasonal “Farm Shares” for $490 per share. It is also the first CSA in the country with the primary mission of helping to feed those in need. Available at: http://www.foodbankwma.org/what-we-do/food-bank-farm/.

Journal Articles

Balsam A, Webber D, Oehlke B. The farmers' market coupon program for low-income elders. Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly 1994;13(4):35–42.

Herman D, Harrison G, Abdelmonem A, and Jenks E. Effect of a targeted subsidy on intake of fruits and vegetables among low-income women in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. American Journal of Public Health 2008;98(1):98–105.

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