Journal of Nutrition and Dietetic Practice

Abstract

The Farm Fresh Challenge: Formative Evaluation Results of a Multi-Component Farm to Grocery Store Program

Author(s): Susan P Harvey

Background: The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults consume at least 4 and a half cups of fruits and vegetables (F/V) a day, yet research indicates these guidelines are not met. Furthermore, agricultural experts are concerned with the declining number of small farms and insufficient production of F/V. The primary purpose of this study was to conduct an assessment of a farm-to-grocery store program.

Methods: Using the guiding foundations of community-based participatory research, the Farm Fresh Challenge (FFC) was developed. The FFC was a multi-component campaign designed to increase the availability of locally grown F/V in grocery stores, while challenging consumers to purchase, prepare, and consume local foods. A formative evaluation was conducted to assess adoption, implementation, reach, maintenance, and perceptions of the program.

Results: Findings indicated: 1) more efforts are necessary to sustain grocer-farmer partnerships; 2) promotion of the program needed to be much more targeted in an effort to better promote local farmers and educate consumers on the benefits of supporting local food systems; and 3) consumers were largely unaware of the FFC.

Conclusions: Farm and grocery store partnerships can serve as a feasible way to improve access to F/V while supporting the sustainability of small farms. However, efforts to educating the public on the benefits of supporting local food systems are warranted, and strategies for enhancing farmer-grocer relationships should be considered.


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