“Who Will Be Served? Farmers Market Variability and the Expectations of Young Adults” by Dr. Oths

Abstract: The number of farmers markets in the United States has increased rapidly over the past decade. The emergence of trendier markets puts pressure on cities to rehabilitate their traditional markets to compete. When considering any new community enterprise, it is imperative to gather knowledge on the needs, wants, and extent of the potential customer base in order to shape it to local realities. While much has been said about the elitist nature of alternative food movement, one segment whose values and expectations have not been studied regarding farmers markets is young adults. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where farmers markets were in the process of transformation, a survey of the consumer preferences of a diverse sample of young adults at a large public university demonstrated the greater attraction of a more festival-like market, even if the produce was perceived as more expensive. Green values and the desire for a wide variety of items for purchase beyond fresh fruits and vegetables were other notable traits of this sample of young adults. Broadening the appeal of farmers markets to the shoppers of the future could shape future eating habits positively and contribute to the overall health of populations, though may run the risk of creating more exclusionary market spaces.

Key words: food, culture, youth, health, consumer, green


Citation: Kathryn S. Oths, Frank J. Manzella, Brooke Sheldon, and Katy M. Groves
Human Organization, Vol. 75, No. 4, 2016

Oths et al. 2016 Who Will Be Served Farmers Market Variability and the Expectations of Young Adults