Public access to urban-grown produce : Who eats local? : A case study of Intervale food consumption in Burlington, Vermont
Farmers in the Intervale, a 700-acre green space in Burlington, Vermont, provide vegetables and fruits to local residents from May to November. This research answers the question: Who eats Intervale food? From a sustainable agriculture perspective, food system localization is expected to improve the livelihoods of participating farmers; from a community food security perspective it is expected to improve the diets of participating eaters and expand their control over what foods are available to them. Intervale-grown food is distributed through market and non-market means. The demographic data that I collected about Intervale eaters suggests that non-market distribution of Intervale food makes it available to segments of the local population that do not access it through market access points. These segments of the population include senior citizens; the households of less-educated adults; and the households of adults in production and transportation and construction, extraction and maintenance occupations. However, people from all income categories are accessing Intervale food through market access categories. Intervale food is eaten by residents from all over the Burlington Urbanized Area (BUA), as well as by a few people beyond it, but eaters are most concentrated in the area immediately surrounding the Intervale. The locations and settings of market access points for Intervale food appear to be a factor in determining the purchasing population.