Creating Markets for All Shoppers
Equitable access to healthy, nutritious food options is a critical component of any livable community. Such barriers as a lack of healthy options and fresh food stores in general, cost, and limited range of such assistance programs such as WIC and SNAP prevent many from accessing and benefitting from healthy food options.
Farmers markets are one popular source of food purchasing that continue to be used by more and more individuals. They are broadening purchase options to include assistance programs, and often have an incredibly wide range of fresh, local, healthy options that buyers can incorporate into a healthy diet.
While farmers markets represent an excellent healthy food purhcasing opportunity, they may not be inherently inclusive and accessible. The following tips and guidelines can be followed by market planners and individual vendors to create a market that is inclusive of and accessible to all potential buyers.
Recommendations for Creating Inclusive, Accessible Farmers Markets
Transit stops, parking lots, and entry access
- Venues should be on stops of accessible public transportation options, such as buses with wheelchair lifts and hydraulic lowering capabilities
- Parking lots should include accessible spaces, including van accessible spaces, that are appropriately marked
- If there is a physical entry to the market, such as a door or gate, it should be operable by a closed fist and require minimal force to open
- Entry should be at least 32 inches wide, and thresholds should be flush to the ground or no more than one-quarter inch raised
Routes and pathways
- Routes and pathways to enter and navigate the market should be at least three feet wide and feature smooth, firm, unbroken surfaces
- Routes should be kept free of obstacles and other potential barriers and hazards to movement
- Cross slopes should be no greater than two percent
- If market access requires level change, such as climbing stairs, there should be an access ramp
- Ramp should be at least three feet wide with a surface slope should be no greater than 8.3 percent
- Ramp should include handrails on both sides and feature a sturdy, stable, non-slip surface
- Signage should exist around and within market to help consumers navigate and provide education on price and nutrition
- Signage should exist in some or (preferably) all of the following formats:
- high contrast lettering
- large print
- Promotional materials for and within the market should be inclusive and accessible
- Additional information on creating inclusive, accessible written documents and signs
- Booths and items should be accessible from a seated position
- Tables and other product surfaces should be between 32 and 39 inches above ground level
- Provide nutrition information of available products in multiple formats
- Vendors should be willing and able to adapt communication methods to interact with all potential consumers
- Additional information on interacting with consumers with disability
- Staff and volunteer assistance should be advertised and made available as needed for selecting, collecting items, providing navigation and other market information, assisting with getting items to vehicles and transportation, etc.
- Enact a layaway-type system that allows consumers to select, purchase items and collect them all at the end of their shopping trip
- Nutrition information of food should be made available
- Provide assistive carts and/or other carry materials that are compatible with assistive devices
- Provide (or ensure existence of) Americans with Disabilities Act-compatible restroom facilities that are located on accessible routes within or to the market
- If possible, create agreements to allow for the acceptance of assistance and voucher payment methods, such as WIC and SNAP
Farmers markets should be inclusive of and accessible to all potential visitors. Providing such an environment allows all individuals the opportunity to access and benefit from all of the opportunities a farmers market offers: healthy food, social interaction, improved quality of life, etc. For additional information on creating an inclusive, accessible farmers market, or other public space, please do not hesitate to contact NCHPAD.