Notes from massurban on Project for Public Spaces:
New Report on Markets & Low-Income Communities
In 2009, the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundationand in partnership with Columbia University, undertook a study to examine what market characteristics successfully attract low-income shoppers. The study also explored the obstacles that may prevent low income individuals from shopping at a farmers market when one existed nearby, and how youth-oriented market programming affects healthy eating habits among kids and teens. Today, we are thrilled to share with you the results of this study, and to offer recommendations for everyone working to get more healthy food into their communities through farmers markets.
For the study, our team examined eight markets across the United States that served low- to middle-income communities with higher than average ethnic and minority compositions. Each market had unique attributes that identified them for selection. In addition, each market was a previous recipient of aPPS grant, funded by the Kellogg Foundation, which offered technical assistance between the years 2006-2008 in addition to funding.
Out of our analysis of market management data, tracked over several years and surveys of market shoppers and non-market shoppers, we were able to identify two key trends. First, we found that price is not a barrier. Among the survey sample, almost 60% of farmers market shoppers in low-income neighborhoods believed their market had better prices than the grocery store. Among those who did not shop at farmers markets, only 17% cited price as a barrier to shopping at their local farmers market. Second, we learned that information is key..”
Photo: Project for Public Spaces