Omnivore - What's keeping low-income people from farmers markets?

A study finds three problems

The American Prospect site featured an essay yesterday entitled "Better Farmers Markets." It notes, describing the scene in Washington, D.C.:

The open-air markets have become a familiar part of the summer landscape, but the shoppers most often browsing the stalls reflect just a tiny, wealthy segment of the city. Why isn't everyone shopping here?

That's a pretty fair assessment of the markets just about everywhere, even when they go out of their way to accommodate the poor.  The essay's author, Latoya Peterson, describes the problem:

In 2005, researchers posed a simple question to  low-income families using food stamps: What kept them from fully utilizing farmers markets? The response came back loud and clear: awareness, price, and convenience. Farmers markets have been touted as the next great hope in stemming the obesity epidemic by providing fresh fruits and vegetables to those neighborhoods that are underserved by grocery stores but often full of fast-food restaurants. However, with all the pushes to make farmers markets more accessible — like allowing food stamps and partnering with Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs — the core issue has still not been addressed: Healthy foods need to be convenient and accessible as well as affordable.

Since a sense of community is almost always described as a positive aspect of these markets, anyone who shops at them should give this essay a read. It proposes a solution to the accessibility problem.