Publication Date

2011

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker

Abstract

Low-income consumers are disproportionally affected by obesity and diet- related illness; the factors of which largely rest on a broken food system in the US. In an effort to increase access and support local food producers, there has been a push to get more low income consumers to participate in alternative local markets, including farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Despite outfitting markets with advertising and the infrastructure to accept Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, participation is low. Based on the idea that increasing participation at alternative markets was good but that the approach was a bit off, Post Oil Solutions started a Market Basket CSA. The Market Basket is a modified CSA that provides local, fresh vegetables to low income consumers at wholesale prices. Over 60 people participated in the MB over the course of two years at two different locations in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the sustainability of the project. Based on evidence gathered through my experience as market coordinator, focus groups, interviews and secondary data, the paper argues that the MB is an effective approach for increasing produce consumption. However issues affecting sustainability remain unresolved. The most pertinent issues are: funding to support a coordinator, and increasing participation of generationally low income consumers. Steps are currently being taken to address both issues.

Disciplines

Agriculture | Civic and Community Engagement | Inequality and Stratification | International and Community Nutrition | Sustainability

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