Online Program

Feasibility of sourcing local produce to small Latino food stores in low-income communities for improving the food retail environment

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jennifer Sanchez-Flack, MPH, Department of Health Behavior, San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint-Doctoral Program & Institute for Behavioral and Community Health, San Diego, CA
Guadalupe Ayala, PhD, MPH, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
background: Lack of access to healthy food disproportionately impacts racially/ethnically-diverse and low-income populations, such as Latinos, and leads to obesity disparities within the U.S. (Lindsay et al., 2008). Without access to produce, individuals cannot meet the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (Freuhaft & Karpyn, 2010). Improving the food environment of small food stores by incorporating fresh produce into their retail environment is an important step in creating an equitable food system.

methods: Mixed-methods interviews were conducted in San Diego with nine small store managers and data are being collected from ten small produce farmers. Interview topics include: current sourcing/distribution experiences, relationships with business clients, and opinions on the feasibility of distributing local produce in small stores.

results: Preliminary results revealed that managers and farmers both support a distribution model to increase access to local produce in low-income communities. Managers believe increased access to local produce would increase purchasing among customers. However, managers reported a lack of knowledge in how to connect with farmers and believed farmers prefer working with large stores because of their purchasing power. Farmers reported an interest in working with organizations that are invested in the community and not for profit.

conclusions: Connecting small store managers and farmers has the potential to increase access to fresh produce within low-income, racially/ethnically diverse communities, and improve dietary behaviors. By understanding the facilitators and barriers to sourcing/distributing local produce, it is expected that an effective distribution model between store managers and farmers will be identified.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare the perspectives of store managers and small produce farmers in the feasibility of sourcing local produce within low-income communities. Identify the barriers and facilitators to distributing and sourcing local produce in low-income communities. Describe potential distribution models useful for both small stores in low-income communities and small produce farmers.

Keyword(s): Food Security, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a third-year doctoral student in Health Behavior, a data manager for a federally funded intervention grant focusing on improving the produce purchasing behaviors of Latinos shoppers in small food stores, and the recipient of an NIH/NCI Diversity Supplement where I am conducting independent research on the feasibility of connecting small Latino food stores with small farmers to improve the produce environment of stores.
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.