International Journal of Food Research
ISSN: 2056-9734
Vol. 4(1), pp. 1-11, August 2017



Enhancing culture of health in food deserts: Reports of a community supported agriculture study

Fayomi Agboola*, R. Patti Herring, Mark Ghamsary, Daniel Handysides, Naomi Modeste and Keiji Oda

School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, 24951 North Circle Drive, Loma Linda, CA, 92350.

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: fagboola@llu.edu.

Received 10 July, 2017; Received in revised form 05 August, 2017; Accepted 10 August, 2017.

Abstract


Keywords:
Farmshare, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), Nutrition, Food sources.


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. The aim of this study was to explore the implications for community-supported-agriculture Farmshares as alternative food networks that could also bridge the food access gap in the city. Participants (182) were enroled into two groups, aged 18 years and older, one per family. Participants’ biometrics were measured at the beginning and after 8 weeks of the program. Group 1 received once weekly-Farmshare produce, one-hour weekly health education classes, and participated in a one-hour weekly physical activity (PA). Group 2 participated in one-hour weekly PA session. Differences in the study’s endpoints were compared between the groups prior to the intervention and after 8 weeks. Using the grounded theory approach, the factors that could influence participants’ produce choices were investigated. When analyzed by groups, Farmshare/exercise/education participants experienced a 4-point drop in their beats/minute heart rates after 8 weeks. Daily fruits and vegetable consumption increased by 1.2 significant points in the Farmshare/exercise /education group. Qualitatively, 15 participants were interviewed on the 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, preference, accessibility and lack of awareness. Of the 76 participants who received the Farmshare intervention, 29% were willing to continue after the intervention’s completion. Farmshare programs could be viable options for healthy food access in disadvantaged settings, however, there are barriers that need to be addressed. Possible guidelines may include enlightenment on utilizing food assistance vouchers for Farmshares and implementing policies which make healthy foods more accessible.

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