Farmers’ Markets: A Role in Healthier Communities
National Farmers Market Week was August 2-8, and the 18 markets in Wake County celebrated their role in providing an important point of access for healthy foods, building healthy communities and supporting local farmers and local economies.
AHA’s work is centered on policy, systems and environmental change to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity in Wake County. Farmers’ markets are part of the local food system providing healthy food access, which is particularly important to the 83,447 individuals in Wake County and the 38,363 households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for food that now can be used at 8 markets in Wake County.
Plus markets create healthier communities. These examples and others show the positive health impact markets have on the health of their communities:
- A student in Eastern North Carolina concluded that proximity to farmers’ markets was associated with lower body mass index (BMI) for local youth, while density of fast-food and pizza venues was associated with higher BMI.
- A 2012 study in Texas found that farm stands operating in low-income neighborhoods just one day a week increased the consumption of fruits and vegetables for families within walking distance.
- New York City’s Health Bucks program was deemed a practice-tested health intervention by the CDC-funded Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and an evidence-based strategy for environmental change by USDA SNAP-Ed.