Assessing Dietary Quality of Farmers’ Market Shoppers

Worksite Location
CCE Wayne County
Project Dates
May 28, 2019 – August 23, 2019
Faculty Sponsor
Rebecca Seguin
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Leah Connor
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Beth Claypoole, Executive Director/Agricultural Issues Leader
Wages Up To
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Cornell Cooperative Extension provides outreach and education to farmers’ market shoppers through the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). This education is focused around developing strategies to best select, store, and prepare fresh local fruits and vegetables available for purchase at New York State farmers’ markets. It is delivered by extension educators using a curriculum and includes food demonstrations, taste tasting, and paper-based resources to help enhance participant experience and education.  Carotenoids are naturally-occurring, fat-soluble pigments found in fruits and vegetables such as: kale, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, grapefruit, and nectarines.  Dermal carotenoid levels can be measured through a non-invasive, portable device that provides readings in approximately 30 seconds. Dermal carotenoid levels are correlated with fruit and vegetable intake; therefore, measurement of dermal carotenoids can provide a less-burdensome mechanism to assessing fruit and vegetable consumption compared to lengthy screeners and dietary recalls.  This summer, our team will administer surveys and collect dermal carotenoid measurements from farmers’ market shoppers in order to determine whether market shopping and purchasing behaviors are associated with dermal carotenoid levels.  

Roles and Responsibilities

The CCE intern will first complete online CITI training for Human Subjects and Responsible Conduct of Research. The intern will work at Wayne County Cooperative Extension and assist the Nutrition and Local Foods Resource Educator with preparation for and delivery of the nutrition education sessions at farmers’ markets.  The intern will also administer the surveys and collect dermal measurements from market shoppers. Travel to local farmers’ markets will be required. Other activities in which the CCE intern will participate include: conducting a literature review; entering survey data; and writing reports. 

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Interest in nutrition, public health, and/or local agriculture required. 

Benefits and Skills

The student will gain an understanding of the profession of health and nutrition as well as the challenges and rewards of implementing community-based programming and research. Experience related to the delivery of nutrition education, food safety and handling, conducting community-based research, and engaging with diverse populations will be achieved.