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Where do you get your produce? Participation in the farmer’s market in Santa Elena


Material Information

Where do you get your produce? Participation in the farmer’s market in Santa Elena
Translated Title:
¿De donde viene su comida? Partipicación en la feria del agricultor ( )
Physical Description:
Cantor, Allison
Publication Date:
normalized irregular


Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Food supply--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Farmers’ markets--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Communities--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Events--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Salud Comunitaria 2008


A study on the participation at the farmer's market in Santa Elena.
Un estudio sobre la participación del agricultor en el mercado de Santa Elena.

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University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
usfldc doi - M38-00073
usfldc handle - m38.73
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Full Text
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De donde viene su comida? Partipicacin en la feria del agricultor
Where do you get your produce? Participation in the farmers market in Santa Elena
c 2008
A study on the participation at the farmer's market in Santa Elena.
Un estudio sobre la participacin del agricultor en el mercado de Santa Elena.
Agriculture--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Food supply--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Farmers markets--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Communities--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Events--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde--Santa Elena
Salud Comunitaria 2008
7 655
Noble, Charlotte
Seale-Feldman, Aidan
Trucksess, Caitie
Waltonbaugh, Dawn
Born Digital
1 773
t Community Health
4 856


Where do you get your produce? Participation in the Globalization and Health Field School 2008 USF Monteverde Institute Allison Cantor Charlotte Noble Aidan Seale Feldman Caitie Trucksess Dawn Walton baugh


2 TEAM BACKGROUND Allison Cantor has a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Arizona. Currently, she is in her second year of graduate studies towards a Masters of Arts at the University of Nevada in Las V egas. Her focus is in nutritional a nthropology with a particul ar interest in Native American o besity H er Spanish proficiency is intermediate. Charlotte Noble has a Bachelors of Arts from Indiana University Northwest in Sociology and Anthropology and is currently enrolled at the University of South Florida where she is pursuing both a Masters of Arts in A pplied A nthropology as well as a Masters in Public Health. Her interests include food security and HIV/AIDS in Haiti. H er Spanish proficiency is int ermediate. Aidan Seale Feldman currently attends Sarah Lawrence College in New York She has interests in both Latin American studies and cultural a nthropology. Aidan is an advanced Spanish speaker and will receive a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts in May of 2009. Caitin Trucksess has a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and has a beginner proficiency level in Spanish. Her past res earch projects have focused on a lternative med icine in the United States and she is currently interested in medical a nthropology and Latin America. Dawn Waltonbaugh is a practicing veterinarian in Florida currently completing a Masters of Science in Public Health at the University of South Florida. She has both a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Florida. She is an intermediate speaker of Spanish and is interested in Nutrition and Homeopathic Medicine for both animals and humans. INTRODUCTION AND PU RPOSE Nutrition, water, and reproductive health are the research topics of this year's Globalization and Health Field School, organized by the University of South Florida in collaboration with the Monteverde Institute. Based on 2004 and 2006 field school research surrounding issues of the community's desire for a farmer's market (called the Feria del Agricultor in Santa Elena, or the feria ) as well as input from community advisors, this years nutrition group decided to investigate the functions and uses of the feria and the ways in which both consumers and producers feel that the market could be improved. Our aim in this research was to look at four different groups of people: producers who sell at the feria and those who do not, as well as consumers wh o patronize the feria and those who do not. By looking at the experiences of these four groups we hope to identify more clearly the community's thoughts on future developments of the farmer's market. The goal of the feria is to support local agriculture and craftsmanship as well as to provide a weekly community event. The market serves the community by offering fresh produce that is sold directly by the producers to the consumers and activities such as live music and dancing. The producers of the farmer' s market sell fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, pastries and other prepared foods as well as a


3 variety of plants and flowers. Both producers and consumers benefit from the feria in a myriad of ways, yet many members of the community do not participate. O ur Project Research Goals included: Learn ing more about the motivations for participation (or non participation) in the feria Producers Consumers Identifying p erceptions of the positive and negative aspects of the feria Producers Consumers Obtain ing sugge stions of how to improve the feria Providing information about nutrition to the participants of the f eria METHODS The qualitative methods for this project included formal and informal interviews, open ended survey questions, focus groups, and participant and non participant observation. Quantitative methods included ordinal and Likert scale survey questions and anthropometry. Both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered at the feria four privately owned agricultural farms, a focus group hosted Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS. Anthropometric measurements, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, food recall, illness demographics, and surveys rela ting to water, reproductive health and nutrition were administered at the community health fair in Caitas. At this event, nutrition surveys were used to identify themes concerning the perceptions and actions of local residents in terms of health, nutriti on and food acquisition. Non participant observation and informal interviews were the methods used at the feria in Santa Elena over the course of the first four weeks of our research. In this way the group was able to initiate rapport with the vendors while continuing to identify important themes surrounding the experience of participation in the market. Structured interviews with local producers began once important themes had been identified and contacts were made through a community advisor. Inte rviews were conducted at the farms of two local producers who also sell at the f era; data from these interviews included both participant and non participant observations. A focus group was conducted with six local women, many of who were hosting student s from the USF field school in their homes. This discussion enabled the group to further explore the experience of the consumer where they obtain their food, why they go to the feria what is important to them when they buy produce etc. The final quant feria itself. After obtaining a stand at the feria surveys were administered to the patrons of the market, an illustrated


4 booklet of nutritional information was distributed, and samples o f a healthy pancake recipe were provided as incentive. In addition to the feria surveys were also administered at the supermarket in order to target consumers who were not shopping at the market. RESULTS After analyzing the data, some major themes em Elena. The initial goal of our research was to identify the motivations behind why people do and do pro ducers who do collected from those who do participate in the market. Due to low participation of agric ultural producers from the zone our data are based on two formal interv iews. Information from our focus group and surveys showed that t he majority of consumers who attended the feria do so because they felt that produce is fresher and more affordable than produce from other stores. In the table below, we have included the responses from the surveys given at the feria (n=32) and the frequency of those responses. The second table illustrates the reasons given for shopping at the supermarket (n=20). Reasons Consumers Shop at the Feria (n=32) Fresh Food 15 Lower Prices 10 To Socialize, See Friends 7 Organic, Natural Food 6 Convenient Place 4 To help local producers 4 To help local community 3 Better Quality 2 Fun place to shop 1 Reasons Consumers Shop at the Supermarket (n=20) Many choices, variety of it ems 4 Only supermarket/Monopoly 4 Cheaper 2 2 2 Need to shop more than 1x per week 1 Better products 1


5 It is interesting to note that customers at the supermarket, when asked about feria at tendance, responded in similar ways to those who were surveyed at the feria. Reasons Consumers Shop at the Feria (Supermarket Survey) (n=20) Cheaper food 5 Fresh food 4 Can buy small amounts 1 Help the local community 1 Help local producers 1 Buy directly from farmers 1 1 Benefits the community 1 Consumers also identified social aspects of the feria as motivation for their attendance, such as dancing, music, meeting friends and eating breakfast. 59% of consumers who took our survey at the feria said that there were no negative aspects of the market. 88.4 % of all consumers who participated in our survey said that the feria was beneficial to the community; participants in the focus group also agreed that it was beneficial. The only negative aspect of the feria identified by the focus group concerned the limited hours of the feria as many people are unable to attend early on Saturday mornings. In depth interviews of producers who attend the feria agreed with the consumers tha t the feria is beneficial to the community, the produce is fresh, and that community activities are an important motivation behind participation. They also identified the direct interaction between producers and consumers as an important aspect of the mar ket. They both agreed that there should be more local producers who sell at the feria as the current majority comes from outside the community. Although we were unable to obtain data from local producers who did not participate in the feria through participant observation it was noted that seasonal agriculture may be a factor in producer participation. Anthropometric Data There were some interesting trends that emerged during the analysis of the anthropometric data that were obtained during the h ealth fair in Caitas. First, of the 16 people both took our nutrition survey and went through th e anthropometric measurements, we noticed a trend of higher average weight, BMI, and blood glucose among those who do not attend the feria Interestingly tho ugh, the average blood pressure of those who do not attend the feria was actually lower than those who do attend. In addition, considering the BMI of all participants in the health fair (n=34), 23.53% had BMIs between nd 14.71% of participants had BMIs over 29 (considered


6 RECOMMENDATIONS During our investigation, we asked how the feria could be improved. Pa rticipants identified the following recommendations. Recommendations from the Consumers Increasing the hours of the feria including hours on Friday afternoon. Having more produce available at later hours. Organizing more cultural activities. Using th e feria as a local recycling pick up center Increasing the involvement of local farmers. Provide transportation Recommendations from the Producers The need for each vender to have a poster with information about themselves and their produce. Encouraging the participation of other industries and activities, such as the selling of live animals. CONCLUSION People overwhelmingly view the feria as a place to obtain fresh, cheap food as evidenced by responses during interviews, focus groups, and surveys. People view the feria as a means to support the local community and local producers That being said, more efforts need to be made to meet the needs of both consum ers and producers Structure of data collection greatly affected the quality/quantity of our data. Our frequent visits to the feria facilitated the building of rapport with both producers and consumers;


7 further, by providing samples of pancakes and bookle ts with nutritional information, we were more easily able to start conversations with people at the feria This in turn led to more detailed responses to our questionnaires and informal interviews. In contrast, approaching people at the supermarket was mo re difficult as conversations were terse and hurried. It is evident that building rapport in the community helped improve the quality of the data. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY Time t only takes place once a week, so we only attended the market four times. Attending more Saturdays would have allowed us to become more familiar with the vendors and consumers that attend every week as well as those that go less frequently. Access Access to members difficult due to time restrictions. It was difficult to gain rapport with community members that s produce at the market. Sample Size Due to the small sample obtained at the Health Fair in Canitas, it was difficult to obtain significant results during data analysis.. We recognize some patterns in anthropometrics will need to be better explored with a larger sample size that is more representative of the community. Language Language was a barrier when collecting in depth information during formal and informal interviews. Although one group member had an advanced Spanish proficiency, it would have fac ilitated data collection if the other four members were proficient as well. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH We found that there was a negative correlation between BMI, blood glucose level, and weight and attendance at the feria While this trend is not significant due to the small sample size of our data, further research of this same question could provide insight into this relationship. Due to research constraints we were unable to build rapport with or obtain information from producers in the c ommunity who do not participate in the feria It could be of interest to further explore the reasons behind this non participation in the future. Other aspects of the feria that we were unable to explore include the influence of rising global food pric es, food security and the tourist economy. These factors may be useful in better understanding the role of the feria in this community.


8 APPENDICES Appendix A Consent Forms for Interviews Appendix B Health Fair Surveys Appendix C Questions for I nformal Interview of Venders at Feria Appendix D Questions for Structured Interviews of Producers Appendix E Focus Group Flyer Appendix F Focus Group Questions Appendix G Feria and Supermarket Survey Appendix H Booklet for Distribution at the F eria