When you shop at a chain grocery store in Sacramento, mainstream media quickly reports how that money you spend quickly leaves the local economy, as opposed to being spent several times over locally. A new Indiana University study that looked at consumers who buy locally grown and produced foods through farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs found the venues largely attract a “privileged” class of shoppers.
Why don’t you see enough low-income shoppers at farmer’s markets in Sacramento? New research on food availability is being presented today and tomorrow, Oct. 29 and Oct. 31, 2012 at the annual American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco.
You often see a privileged class of shoppers in Sacramento that frequents some of the natural food markets. For example, buy a juice drink and two sandwiches, one veggie and the other tuna at the Sacramento Natural Food Coop in midtown and you pay around $12 to $14 for the two sandwiches.
The juice, for example, a 16 ounce protein smoothie in a plastic bottle, costs you another $4. You can pay anywhere from $23 to $32 just for lunch, if you’re hungry for two sandwiches and a juice. Add a salad or dessert from the cooler, and it’s another $3 or more. Or put a few scoops of brown rice in a take-out container over a few scoops of tofu chunks with a warm sauce, and it’s weight at $6.50 a pound. You end up paying almost what a poor family would call a week’s grocery list just for lunch.
Similar prices abound in Whole Foods market, where you can buy organic produce. Even with the discounts, if you’re a low-income family or senior citizen trying to eat healthy in Sacramento, you soon realize that really healthy food is available to the privileged shopper, unless the farmer’s markets actually move to the poorest neighborhoods. But not many farmer’s markets even sell organic foods, and if they do, the price usually is not affordable to poor people. Even schools don’t serve organic vegetables if they can get local produce on a tight budget that’s commercial rather than organic.
Where poorer people shop
Poorer people can grow food in urban gardens if they know where to rent space. One reason is that numerous poor people often look for food in church pantries and food banks. And the food they get in food banks often is packaged and canned processed foods, not the same availability of fresh local organic produce that’s found in the stores where privileged shoppers buy organic produce.
Others look for bargains in supermarkets. Not many can afford organic produce unless they’re growing their own at local urban gardens. And farmer’s markets are just beginning to come to poorer neighborhoods. In Sacramento, you have a farmer’s market in Oak Park, which once had numerous abandoned houses.
Only a small percentage of shoppers buy organic food locally, for example at Whole Food Markets in Sacramento. And farmer’s markets run from early in the morning to noon on Saturdays much of the time, in parking lots, when a lot of poor people and older adults are busy indoors until noon.
Also people are limited to personal shopping carts, the issue of no sidewalks connecting shopping areas on many Sacramento streets such as Marconi Avenue between Watt Avenue and Fulton Avenue or between Marconi and Arden along Eastern Avenue and a lack of bus service on Sundays if elderly shoppers don’t have cars to get to food markets selling local foods.
A package of organic blueberries in one Sacramento supermarket’s cooler/freezer was distributed from a California location. However, the blueberries were marked “product of Ukraine.” The issue is that frozen organic blueberries also are available to some local stores that are grown in Canada.
Apparently, you sometimes can’t find locally grown organic blueberries frozen that taste fresh. Many have skins so tough you can’t chew them if you’re elderly. They’re hidden in the natural food aisle coolers and possibly have been there longer than the blueberries in the commercial frozen fruit coolers that also carry different brands of blueberries or strawberries. It’s confusing, especially for shoppers not considered financially and health-educationally ‘privileged.’
More families use food banks and church pantries
Much of the food that’s advertised in the local Sacramento mainstream media isn’t affordable to low-income families who shop for what they can obtain at food banks. Some food market employees refer to sections of Sacramento as “the gulag,” which in many cases refers to the apartment house complexes that are just across the street from some food markets known to take shopping carts off the parking lot premises and leave them along the street.
Other neighborhoods don’t have a supermarket, simply liquor and convenience stores that sell soda and chips instead of fresh produce that’s often not affordable. Now a new study Indiana University that looked at consumers who buy locally grown and produced foods through farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs found the venues largely attract a “privileged” class of shoppers.
“Our findings present a need for broadening local food opportunities beyond the privileged, higher-income consumer, through alternative payment plans and strategic efforts that make fresh foods accessible to a diversity of people,” said James Farmer, in an October 29, 2012 news release, Greater effort needed to move local, fresh foods beyond ‘privileged’ consumers. Farmer will discuss his findings this week at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting 2012.
Local foods attract a privileged class of shoppers says new study of farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs
An Indiana University study that looked at consumers who buy locally grown and produced foods through farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs found the venues largely attract a “privileged” class of shoppers. “Our findings present a need for broadening local food opportunities beyond the privileged, higher-income consumer, through alternative payment plans and strategic efforts that make fresh foods accessible to a diversity of people,” said James Farmer, who will discuss his findings at APHA.
An Indiana University study that looked at consumers who buy locally grown and produced foods through farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs found the venues largely attract a “privileged” class of shoppers.
Do higher-income shoppers buy fresher foods?
“Our findings present a need for broadening local food opportunities beyond the privileged, higher-income consumer, through alternative payment plans and strategic efforts that make fresh foods accessible to a diversity of people,” said James Farmer, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.
Farmer is discussing his research today on Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco. The study focused on farmer’s markets and CSAs in Indiana, which has more than 130 farmer’s markets and more than 50 CSAs. In a CSA, individuals pay an upfront fee, usually $250 to $700, in exchange for a routine allotment of a farm’s bounty. This can include fruits and vegetables, along with eggs, meat, dairy products and other goods.
Farmer’s markets nationally saw a 450 percent increase since 1994
Nationally, the popularity of both has grown exponentially, Farmer said in the news release, with farmer’s markets seeing a 450 percent increase since 1994. More than 12,500 CSAs operate across the U.S. Generally speaking, local foods are more often produced using sustainable farming practices that eliminate or decrease the use of chemical applications that can be found in conventionally produced farm products.
“When you consider freshness as an important value for consumers, hands down local foods that are distributed directly from the farmer to the consumer get from the field to the table in a much shorter period of time,” Farmer explained in the news release. “Also, when you shop at a chain grocery store, the money you spend quickly leaves the local economy, as opposed to being spent several times over within one’s own town or city.”
Farmer said that alternative payment models do exist for CSAs and farmer’s markets, but they need to become more widespread. Many farmer’s markets accept WIC Program vouchers and other government assistance for food. Many CSAs have incorporated payment installment plans and work-exchange programs, with a smaller number offering a sliding payment scale.
“Additionally, the need for farmer’s markets and CSAs to be positioned in locations proximate to people who are food insecure would also increase access,” he explained in the news release.
The research team will discuss the study during two presentations. Findings concerning CSAs will be discussed at 3:30 p.m. EDT Monday. Findings concerning farmer’s markets will be discussed at 3:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Co-authors for the presentations are Ya-Ling Chen and Charles Chancellor, IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. For further information, see the news release, Greater effort needed to move local, fresh foods beyond ‘privileged’ consumers.
Sacramento’s Food Protection Program
Find out more about Sacramento’s food protection program at the website, Food Protection Program-Sacramento County Environmental. Or find an organization that focuses on green health goals such as Ubuntu Green — Where Sustainable, Equitable Communities Unite. Maybe you want to locate nearby Sacramento coops and “green-health minded” people. Then check out the site, Food Coops – Green People.
If you’re looking for food safety software, check out the site, “Food Safety Software.” Also see, “Food Safety Program – California Department of Public Health.” About the latest food recalls, you can see what’s being recalled today at the government site, “Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Kits – Real Mex Foods 08/16/12 (pdf).” Today’s latest food recall are the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Kits, made by the firm, Real Mex Foods, Vernon, CA.
The salad kits are being recalled because the salad dressing in the kits were made with cilantro that was voluntarily recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. The food is being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. Fresco Green Farms supplied the voluntarily-recalled salad dressing. The salad kits were sold at Costco in California.
California Certified Farmers’ Markets (CCFM)
Would you like to set up your own certified farmer’s market even if you don’t sell produce during the cold season? Would you like to set up a seasonal farmer’s market in your area? California Certified Farmers’ Markets (CCFM) provides services that help farmers sell and market their produce directly to consumers. The organization also provide similar services to artisans, crafters and food vendors.
CCFM specializes in setting up Farmers’ Markets, for the benefit of small Californian certified farmers, local government agencies and the neighborhoods where the markets are run. CCFM’s data bank of farmers and growers exceeds over 3000 producers and over 45,000 consumers.
If you want to set up a seasonal farmer’s market in Sacramento, you don’t have to sell farm produce now that the autumn season is about to start at the end of September. Instead, you can provide services as a crafter, artisan, or food vendor. Or during the summer, you can add produce.
Check out the website of CCFM, California Certified Farmers Markets if you’re interested in becoming a member. Or maybe you’d just like to find a farmer’s market near you in Sacramento.
Where are the farmers’ markets in Sacramento that are members of the California Federation of Certified Farmer’s Markets?
Sundays Sacramento Central CFM 8th & W Streets under Highway 50/80
Tuesdays Sacramento Fremont Park CFM Fremont Park, 16th & P Streets
Sacramento Roosevelt Park Roosevelt Park – 9th & P Streets
Wednesdays Sacramento Chavez Plaza CFM Chavez Plaza – 10th & J Streets
Thursdays Capitol Mall CFM 6th Street and Capitol Mall along the street
East End State Capitol Park CFM 15th and L Sts
Sacramento Florin CFM Florin Sears – Florin Road and 65th Street
Fridays Sacramento Kaiser CFM Cottage Way & Morse Avenue
St. Rose of Lima Park CFM 7th and K Sts
Saturdays Del Paso Heights Farmers’ Market Norwood Avenue and San Juan Road
Natomas Certified Farmers’ Market Inderkum High School parking lot in N. Natomas.
Oak Park Farmers Market McClatchy Park, 35th Street and 5th Ave
Sacramento Ctry Club Plaza CFM Country Club Plaza, Watt and El Camino Avenues
Green Food, Coops, Transportation, and Living Information
Food Protection Program-Sacramento County Environmental Ubuntu Green — Where Sustainable, Equitable Communities Unite!
Sacramento Regional Transit District Home Page
Food Coops – Green People
How to make greener deodorants from foods
Whole Foods Market | WholeFoodsMarket.com