More than half of Ohio's adults purchased food from a farmers market this year

CINCINNATI -- More than half (54 percent) of Ohio adults say they have purchased food at a farmers market in the past year, according to the 2016 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP), sponsored by Interact for Health.

However, adults in southwest Ohio were less likely than adults statewide to use a farmers market; just under half of adults in southwest Ohio (46 percent) said they had used a farmers market in the past year.

A farmers market is a place where a number of farmers gather on a regular basis, often weekly, to sell their products and produce. Items sold can include fruits and vegetables, as well as other locally produced products such as honey, eggs, cheese and meat. Farmers markets improve access to locally grown produce. Because vegetables and fruits are sold there, farmers markets are seen as a way to promote a healthier diet.

“Our state has many wonderful farmers markets, some being held yearlong,” says Jaime Love, program officer at Interact for Health. “Our work has supported infrastructure and distribution projects that are helping to get fresh produce to communities that need better access. Farmers markets are one way to achieve this goal.”

There were no differences by gender or age that predicted likelihood of shopping at farmers markets. However, adults with more education were more likely to have shopped at a farmers market. About six in 10 adults with at least some college said they had done so. That compares with only four in 10 adults with a high school diploma or less education.            

OHIP also found that adults with more income were more likely to shop at a farmers market. More than six in 10 adults earning more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (65 percent) said they had done so. This compares with only four in 10 adults earning 200 percent of the FPL or less. In recent years, some farmers markets have been allowed to accept payment through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP benefits help low-income individuals and families buy food. As of November 2016, Ohio had 111 SNAP-authorized farmers markets.

OHIP also asked, “On your last visit to a farmers market, approximately how much did you spend?” About six in 10 adults (58 percent) said they had spent $20 or less. Among those, most spent between $11 and $20.

More information about Ohioans' use of farmers markets, and other topics, is available at the website here.

OHIP was conducted from July 14 to Aug. 5, 2016, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 863 adults from throughout Ohio was interviewed by telephone. This included 439 landline telephone interviews and 424 cell phone interviews.

Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available on its website here.

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