Characterizing Customers at Medical Center Farmers’ Markets
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Approximately 100 farmers’ markets operate on medical center campuses. Although these venues can uniquely serve community health needs, little is known about customer characteristics and outreach efforts. Intercept survey of markets and market customers between August 2010 and October 2011 at three medical centers in different geographic regions of the US (Duke University Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, and Penn State Hershey Medical Center) were conducted. Markets reported serving 180–2,000 customers per week and conducting preventive medicine education sessions and community health programs. Customers (n = 585) across markets were similar in sociodemographic characteristics—most were middle-aged, white, and female, who were employees of their respective medical center. Health behaviors of customers were similar to national data. The surveyed medical center farmers’ markets currently serve mostly employees; however, markets have significant potential for community outreach efforts in preventive medicine. If farmers’ markets can broaden their reach to more diverse populations, they may play an important role in contributing to community health.
KeywordsFarmers’ markets Medical center campuses Market customers Community outreach
Preparation of this manuscript was funded, in part, by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH, through Grant UL1RR033184 and KL2RR033180, awarded to Dr. Kraschnewski, and by NIH Grant R00 HL088017 awarded to Dr. Rovniak. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute, or the National Institutes of Health. The Association of Faculty & Friends in Hershey, PA, and the Dauphin County Medical Society Alliance provided start-up funds for the farmers’ market and its programming and have generously offered grant support in subsequent seasons.
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