This last week marked the beginning of the end of our project activities as we began to draft plans for our presentation and final deliverables. We decided on a handbook format for the final product that we will hand to Priscilla. Our aim here is to provide her with a comprehensive document that outlines our recommendations (based on our methods and findings) for each component of farmers market establishment. Our recommendations will be accompanied by explicit steps that Priscilla and her team can follow as they move forward. The open office hours session on Monday was spent mapping out the sections of this handbook and allocating work to group members. The picture to the left shows our brainstorming.
In conversation with Priscilla on Wednesday, we revisited our original deliverables as they were presented in our scope of work. We wanted her to know how our scope of work had changed over time, and we wanted to make sure we were including everything she hoped to have in the end. As a result of this conversation, it was decided that we needed to do a bit of price surveying in local markets and grocery stores to provide Priscilla with a few produce price points (say that three times fast). Just today, Pete visited Foods Co., Chavez, and Sigona’s, some of the most frequently referenced grocery stores among our survey respondents, to collect price data.
Another major task leading into these last couple of weeks has been entering and analyzing our survey data. We ended survey collection with 98 surveys – 69 patients and 24 staff (5 missing clinic affiliation information).
What We’ve Learned
Our survey data hasn’t necessarily shown us anything surprising, but it has provided us with concrete numbers to help answer some of our questions. In terms of interest levels, 100% of staff who took our survey and 83% of patients who took our survey expressed interest in having a farmers market at FOHC. 95% of survey respondents said they would shop at a farmers market before or after a scheduled appointment. 82% said they would shop at a farmers market even if they didn’t have a schedule appointment, which was a promising result for us – we expected fewer people to be interested in coming to the clinic only for the purpose of visiting a farmers market. 26% of survey respondents knew that they are WIC eligible, and 21% knew that they are CalFresh eligible. The top five most desired fruits and vegetables (which were used for our price checks at grocery stores) were apples, oranges, carrots, onions, and spinach.
A snapshot of survey data
Another major learning point this week: this type of community planning takes time. Lots of it. It would be great if, at the end of Week 10, we could have a stand opening up at FOHC to sell produce to the passing patients. Realistically, this moment may be a year or two away. The work we’re putting in now is valuable in its own right, however, and must be done to help Priscilla carry out her farmers market vision in a credible and appropriate way.
The survey data also showed that 74% of survey respondents are satisfied with the produce from the stores at which they currently shop. This begs the question: even if clinic staff and patients express interest in having a farmers market at the clinic, do they really have a need for one that would motivate use and support of the market? This question, along with compiling our results and recommendations, has forced us to look back and reexamine our initial purpose and Priscilla’s initial purpose. North Fair Oaks, in many ways, is not really a food desert. But, according to Priscilla, the population they’ve seen at the clinic has been suffering from increasing rates of nutrion-related disease such as diabetes and overweight/obesity. Consequently, perhaps the biggest role a FOHC farmers market could play is not one of increasing food access or making produce more affordable but is one of tying food choice and eating into the patients’ healthcare and wellness. It is from this perspective that we will frame our final presentation, drawing from FOHC’s vision of total wellness.