211033 Partnership with Fresno Unified School District Neighborhood Resource Centers to set-up farmers' markets on school sites in low-income neighborhoods

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:05 PM

Reyna N. Villalobos Villalobos, MPH , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Fresno Metro Ministry, Fresno, CA
Edie Jessup , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Fresno Metro Ministry, Fresno, CA
Many low-income neighborhoods in Southeast Fresno, California do not have easy access to nutritious foods. In many instances what is available is an overabundance of fast food outlets compared to fresh produce stores or supermarkets. Adequate means of transportation is also a challenge. The obesity rate in Fresno County is approximately 35.1% compared to 31.2% statewide.

Following the historic famers' market ordinance change in the City of Fresno June 2008, Fresno Metro Ministry, in collaboration with the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, worked with a local farmer to set-up the first school farm stand as a pilot project at Fresno Unified School District - John Burroughs Elementary (JBE) Neighborhood Resource Center. Approximately 96% of children at JBE qualify for free or reduced school meals. The school farm stand was open to the community and ran for 10 weeks. On the last day of the market, Metro staff and a WIC Dietetic Intern implemented a customer satisfaction survey to learn more about the types of produce preferred, average amount spent, hours of operation, and the use of EBT card to pay for produce. The vast majority of customers were satisfied with the quality, variety and cost of products. Survey findings indicated that more consumer education is needed to raise awareness about seasonality of market vegetables.

Given the interest from community residents, this pilot project will be expanding to at least 6 other Fresno Unified schools in 2009 and will incorporate consumer education and health information.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits of establishing farmers' markets on school grounds for community use with EBT and WIC acceptance. Explain the process of starting farmers' markets on school sites. Describe the multi-sector support needed to sustain a school neighborhood farmers' market.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Program Director with a Masters in Public Health and have worked on community organizing for a number of years. I understand the importance of healthy eating and can provide schools with the support they need to have a successful experience with establishing farmers' markets on school grounds.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.