A qualitative study of shopper experiences at an urban farmers' market using the Stanford Healthy Neighborhood Discovery Tool

Matthew Buman, Farryl Bertmann, Eric B. Hekler, Sandra J. Winter, Jylana L. Sheats, Abby C. King, Christopher Wharton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective To understand factors which enhance or detract from farmers' market shopper experiences to inform targeted interventions to increase farmers' market utilization, community-building and social marketing strategies. Design A consumer-intercept study using the Stanford Healthy Neighborhood Discovery Tool to capture real-time perceptions via photographs and audio narratives. Setting An urban farmers' market in a large metropolitan US city. Participants Thirty-eight farmers' market shoppers, who recorded 748 unique coded elements through community-based participatory research methods. Results Shoppers were primarily women (65 %), 18-35 years of age (54 %), non-Hispanic (81 %) and white (73 %). Shoppers captured 291 photographs (7·9 (sd 6·3) per shopper), 171 audio narratives (5·3 (sd 4·7) per shopper), and ninety-one linked photograph + audio narrative pairs (3·8 (sd 2·8) per shopper). A systematic content analysis of the photographs and audio narratives was conducted by eight independent coders. In total, nine common elements emerged from the data that enhanced the farmers' market experience (61·8 %), detracted from the experience (5·7 %) or were neutral (32·4 %). The most frequently noted elements were freshness/abundance of produce (23·3 %), product presentation (12·8 %), social interactions (12·4 %) and farmers' market attractions (e.g. live entertainment, dining offerings; 10·3 %). Conclusions While produce quality (i.e. freshness/abundance) was of primary importance, other contextual factors also appeared important to the shoppers' experiences. These results may inform social marketing strategies to increase farmers' market utilization and community-building efforts that target market venues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)994-1000
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 20 2015


  • Content analysis
  • Food environment
  • Health promotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'A qualitative study of shopper experiences at an urban farmers' market using the Stanford Healthy Neighborhood Discovery Tool'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this