Exploring the Use of Seattle's Farmers' Market Incentive Program ("Fresh Bucks") by Household Food Security Levels
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Introduction Farmers market incentive programs such as the Fresh Bucks program in Seattle, Washington aim to improve healthy food access and food security amongst low-income individuals. The objective of this study was to compare Fresh Bucks access and associated shopping behaviors across food security levels of high/marginal, low, and very low food security. Methods Researchers surveyed a convenience sample of Fresh Bucks users at the farmers market prior to shopping, after shopping at the farmers market later that same day, and one to two months later via telephone. Responses to the six-question short form of the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module were used to classify subjects as high/marginal, low, or very low food security. We analyzed differences in demographics and farmers market shopping behaviors by food security levels. Results Slightly less than half of all subjects (45%) reported high or marginal food security, 28% reported low food security and 28% reported very low food security. Frequency of shopping at a farmers market when in season differed by food security status (Fisher exact P=0.03). Further examination of this relationship with a proportional odds regression model indicated no significant association. All other farmers market shopping behaviors included in the study demonstrated no significant differences by food security status. Conclusion Food security status amongst Fresh Bucks shoppers mirrors national trends. Participants use the Fresh Bucks program and farmers market in similar ways regardless of food security status. However, these relationships should be explored in a larger and more diverse population.
- Nutritional sciences