This article focuses on the food environment and food shopping habits of lower-income residents in rural Maine. Focus groups were conducted with lower-income parents of children enrolled in Medicaid/State Children’s Health Insurance Program in Maine to ask them about their food shopping habits, the barriers they faced when trying to obtain food, places where they get their food, and their perception of healthy food. Cost, travel distance and food quality were factors that influenced efforts to get food. Parents described shopping habits that involved coupons and sales; traveling distances of up to 80 miles to purchase good quality, affordable foods; supplementing purchased food with food that is harvested, hunted and bartered; and using larger freezers to store bulk items for survival in ‘tough’ times.
Understanding the Rural Food Environment–Perspectives of Low-Income Parents
This paper examines the association between the rural food environment and rural lower-income children’s food consumption and obesity rates in six rural towns in Maine. Researchers found few significant relationships between the community food environment and the home food environment. A marginally significant relationship was found between the distance parents … More
The goal of this study is to examine how food environments influence rural childhood obesity rates and food choices, in order to ultimately help policymakers find effective rural policy interventions. Specifically, this research will investigate the community-based healthy food environment (defined as food access, cost and quality for healthy foods … More
Evaluation of the USDA FINI Program Finds Benefits for Consumers, Farmers and Retailers, and Local Economies
In December 2018, Congress passed a new farm bill which included a reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. This brief summarizes the findings of a recent qualitative evaluation of FINI, which concludes that the program has benefits for consumers, farmers and … More