An Assessment of Perceived Barriers to Farmers’ Market Access


Ritter, G.; Walkinshaw, L.P.; Quinn, E.L.; Ickes, S.; Johnson, D.B.


Objective: To explore whether Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education (SNAP-Ed) stakeholders (individuals involved in work to increase access to farmers’ markets [FMs] for low-income populations) perceive the same barriers to shopping at FMs as those reported by SNAP participants in Washington State. Design: Descriptive study; data included a stratified clustered random sample of SNAP participants and stakeholder interviews. Setting: Washington State. Participants: A total of 400 SNAP participants and 51 SNAP-Ed stakeholders. Main Outcome Measures: The SNAP participants’ reported barriers to accessing FMs and the SNAP-Ed stakeholders’ perceptions of FM access barriers. Analysis: Thematic content analysis, descriptive statistics, 2-sample tests of proportion, and Pearson chi-square tests (P <.025). Results: A majority of SNAP participants reported they did not shop at an FM because it is inconvenient (n = 193; 51%) and not financially viable (n = 84; 22%). Moreover, 9% of SNAP participants (n = 34) stated that they experienced no barriers. The SNAP-Ed stakeholders placed increased emphasis on transportation and cost barriers compared with the SNAP participants. Conclusions and Implications: Comprehensive, multilevel strategies that reflect the perspectives of SNAP participants could increase SNAP use at FMs. Opening FMs in diverse locations at variable operating times may address convenience barriers while engaging the targeted populations’ communities to promote FMs, and FM incentive programs may address financial and awareness barriers. © 2018 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior