Community-based nutrition education and hands-on cooking intervention increases farmers' market use and vegetable servings

Jessica Jarick Metcalfe, Jennifer McCaffrey, Melissa Schumacher, Caitlin Kownacki, Melissa Pflugh Prescott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective of the current study was to evaluate the impact of the Market to MyPlate (M2MP) program on participants' reported farmers' market (FM) attitudes and shopping behaviours, frequency of serving vegetables to their families, food resource management behaviours and food security. A secondary objective was to identify facilitators and barriers to shopping at FM and food waste reduction techniques used by low-income families. Design: The current study used a mixed methods evaluation embedded within a cluster randomised trial of the M2MP intervention. Setting: The 7-week M2MP program was delivered at Extension offices and community centres in central Illinois. Participants: Participants included 120 adults and their families. Class cohorts were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: (1) nutrition education and cooking classes with produce allocations (PAE, n 39); (2) nutrition education and cooking classes only (EO, n 36) or (3) control group (n 45). Results: Compared with control participants, PAE participants were significantly more likely to report shopping at FM (P = 0·029) and reported serving more vegetables to their families (P = 0·010) (EO participants did not differ from the control group on any outcomes). There were no differences between conditions in survey-based measures of food security or food resource management behaviours. Interview results describe facilitators and barriers to shopping at FM and a variety of food waste reduction techniques (including food placement and food resource management). Conclusions: These findings suggest that fresh produce provision coupled with nutrition and culinary education can positively impact shopping and dietary behaviours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2601-2613
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 21 2022


  • cluster randomized trial
  • community-based intervention
  • diet
  • family
  • food resource management
  • food waste
  • mixed methods
  • Mixed methods
  • Food resource management
  • Food waste
  • Cluster randomised trial
  • Diet
  • Community-based intervention
  • Family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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