Research conducted in Flint, Michigan, found that changing the location of the local farmers' market had a dramatic effect in how residents shopped.
"Making farmers markets more accessible to Americans in food deserts can boost the number of low-income customers who regularly shop there, and may even offer more promise for improving diets than bringing in traditional grocers," reports Tracie McMillan, in sharing the findings of researchers from the Flint campus of Michigan State University.
Rick Sadler, a public health professor at the Flint campus of Michigan State University, interviewed customers at the Flint Farmers' Market in both 2011 and 2015—on either side of a relocation "from an industrial area north of the city core — inaccessible to public transit and pedestrians — to a central downtown location across from the bus station." Sandler found that the customer demographics in the interim: "At the new location, the market was seeing far more shoppers from the city's poorer neighborhoods."
Sadler also found significant changes in how the customers arrived at the farmers' market and what they bought when they were there. The article provides more details about the study's findings and their implications for planners, policy makers, and retailers.
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