Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Studies


Cynthia McPherson Frantz

Committee Member(s)

Thomas Newlin, Chair


Community-based social marketing, Local food, Food desert, Food access, Northeast Ohio


This research sought to examine the perceptions around the barriers and benefits to purchasing local produce in northeast Ohio. The research questions explored include: how do (low-income) communities in Northeast Ohio perceive the barriers and benefits to accessing local produce? What opportunities are there for organizations such as City Fresh to increase participation in their Fresh Stop program, and hence, to increase access to fresh produce in these communities? The study was designed using the principles of community-based social marketing. Interviewees included participants in City Fresh’s Fresh Stop program along with non-Fresh Stop participants from similar geographic areas. Participants completed a survey and participated in a verbal interview on food shopping choices, produce preferences, how much different groups influenced their purchasing habits, and the perceived barriers and benefits to purchasing fresh produce. Cost and location were considered barriers to accessing local produce, as was the low-quality of the items available. Few people mentioned the lack of cultural knowledge, kitchen equipment, or time as a barrier to preparing produce. City Fresh marketing that emphasizes the quality, accessible price, and convenience of the Fresh Stop locations could target the key values of participants. Further research could examine how participants’ shopping habits had changed since participating in Fresh Stop, while observational studies may be able to uncover some aspects of behavior not captured in the interviews. It would also be useful to consider the barriers that farmers market and CSA operation present for low-income families.