Linking farmers to community stores to increase consumption of local produce: a case study of the navajo nation
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OBJECTIVE: To understand the barriers to farmer participation in Farm-to-Table (F2T) programmes and to identify possible solutions to these obstacles.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of farmer perspectives on F2T programmes.
SETTING: Three service units on the Navajo Nation (Chinle, Tuba City and Fort Defiance).
SUBJECTS: Forty-four Navajo farmers.
RESULTS: Most participants reported that farming on the Navajo Nation is getting harder (61 %) but that it is very important to maintain Navajo farming traditions (98 %). A modest number of farmers (43 %) expressed interest in participating in an F2T programme. All farmers reported that childhood obesity was a very serious or serious problem in the Navajo Nation. The farmers expressed support for an F2T programme if key barriers to farming, including water access and pest control, could be addressed. Key barriers to participation identified included lack of fruits and vegetables to sell, sale price of crops and lack of certification of produce by the US Food and Drug Administration.
CONCLUSIONS: Navajo farmers are aware of the burden of childhood obesity on the Navajo Nation and feel that an F2T programme could be beneficial. To successfully implement a Farm-to-Table programme, the barriers to participation identified will need to be addressed.