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Garden Market

This toolkit provides information on how to establish a garden market in a federal agency or other organization. It is based on a Healthier Worksite Initiative (HWI) demonstration project at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health Challenge

One goal of the HealthierUS Initiative is to increase Americans' consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommend that Americans "choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week."1

Many Americans find it difficult to increase their consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables because of the following barriers:

  • High prices: From 1982 to 1997, the price of fruits and vegetables increased more than all other food categories. National Cancer Institute, Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
  • Limited access: Many consumers, especially those living in low-income and urban areas, need access to affordable fruits and vegetables.3, 4

HWI's Demonstration Project

people at the garden marketOne way to improve access is to create a garden market on the work site so employees can conveniently shop for fruits and vegetables. A garden market may also reduce price barriers if it provides fresh produce at prices that are competitive with other sources. CDC created the "Garden Market" demonstration project at one location for this purpose. The garden market was so successful that it was adopted at other CDC locations.

Toolkit Components

The content of this toolkit is most relevant to federal employers, although other government employers, such as states, might have similar procurement regulations. Employers in the private sector may find that they have fewer restrictions; however, the principles of program development hold true.

The toolkit describes the following project phases:

Additionally, you can read how HWI launched the Garden Market at CDC and lessons we learned from the experience in CDC Garden Market Example.

Note: this toolkit is simply an example of what worked at CDC. The examples and guidance provided should not be a substitute for working with your own internal policy and legal staff to develop appropriate guidelines and procedures for running a garden market. Additionally, the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), or Department of Defense (DoD) are in no way responsible or liable for 1) vendors or their products as chosen through the DoD Fresh Program, or 2) guaranteeing the success of garden markets established as a result of this toolkit.


1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.

2Johnson, CD, Taylor, CA, Hampl, JS. More Americans are eating "5 a day" but intakes of dark green and cruciferous vegetables remain low. Journal of Nutrition 2000;130:3063–3067

3Rose, D, Richards, R. Food store access and household fruit and vegetable use among participants in the US Food Stamp Program. Public Health Nutrition 2004;7(8), 1081–1088.

4The Contextual Effect of the Local Food Environment on Residents' Diets: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. American Journal of Public Health 2002;92(11):1761–1767.

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