To evaluate the participant experience of the Neighborhood Produce Market (NPM), a mobile fresh food pantry, in a small Mid-Atlantic city.
Use of Theory or Research
A participatory approach used to implement a mixed-methods, cross-sectional study.
Adult NPM participants with children in the household and primary language of English, Spanish, and/or Arabic.
Through a collaboration of food bank, university, and hospital community outreach partners, NPM offers fresh, free produce and nutrition education with food samples to families at risk of food insecurity. Since its inception in 2017, NPM has served over 300 families and 500 children in 20 neighborhoods.
Four phases informed by collaborative partners with assistance from Spanish and Arabic interpreters/translators: 16 interviews to inform survey development; survey development with closed- and open-ended items and testing; survey translation and testing; and survey data collection using Qualtrics. Content analysis and descriptive statistics conducted for interview and survey data, respectively.
Among interviewees (14 females; 2 males), half of the interviews were conducted in English, 31% in Spanish, and 19% in Arabic. Major themes categorized by benefits, impact on family fruit and vegetable intake, food access norms, and suggestions. Survey completed by 40 participants (34 females; 6 males) in Spanish (40%), Arabic (32%), English (28%). Over 95% reported NPM connected people in the communities and had a positive impact on physical or financial health of families. Most respondents (97%) were introduced to new foods, with 80% reporting their children tried new foods. Over 85% reported they and their household members ate more fresh vegetables due to the NPM. Only 11% reported being uncomfortable getting food from the NPM. Suggestions included marketing, accessibility, and variety/quantity of foods.
There may be benefits to using a mobile fresh food pantry model like NPM for multilingual communities. Findings may be useful to nutrition educators to meet participant fruit and vegetable needs in similar communities.