Development and Validation of a Farmers' Market Audit Tool in Rural and Urban Communities

Carmen Byker Shanks, Stephanie Jilcott Pitts, Alison Gustafson
Health Promotion Practice 2015, 16 (6): 859-66
The number of farmers' markets in the United States is growing. Although there are tools to analyze food availability at grocery stores, corner stores, and convenience stores, little research exists about the availability of food types at farmers' markets. This research developed an audit tool to measure the food environment at farmers' markets in rural and urban food environments and examined its psychometric properties, including face validity, interrater reliability, and discriminant validity. The Farmers' Market Audit Tool was reviewed by content experts, revised, and then tested in six farmers' markets by researchers across three states in 2013, including Kentucky, North Carolina, and Montana. Seven food categories were developed, including vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, eggs, grains, and samples. Interrater reliability was high within farmers' market across states. As expected, discriminant validity indicated a systematic disagreement within and between states due to seasonality and ability to grow different types of food across different farmers' markets. The total scores assessing the healthfulness of each farmers' market was 38 (range = 28-50). Using the Farmers' Market Audit Tool at farmers' markets is a reliable and valid method to capture the availability of food offerings.

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