How do you access healthful foods?

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This website provides information about ongoing research about how residents of Chester, Pennsylvania access food for themselves and their families. Accessing healthful food is a struggle for residents of many communities—because of the lack of supermarkets and high cost of fruits, vegetables, and other healthful foods—including Chester. Our research aims to identify the current barriers Chester residents face and to evaluating efforts to improve their access.

Report: Food Shopping Among Chester Residents

Download the full report: Chester_Food_Study_0912

Read Executive Summary Below

Study background

This report presents findings from our preliminary research designed to evaluate the impact of Fare & Square, a non-profit grocery store that Philabundance plans to open in Chester, Pennsylvania in spring 2013. This new market is intended to provide access to a full range of food staples on a dependable and reliable basis at a low costfor residents of Chester and surrounding towns. The results presented here are considered our “baseline.”

Description of study participants

Between November 2011 and April 2012, we surveyed 320 Chester residents using self-administered paper surveys. Most surveys were completed at the County Assistance Office and Chester Eastside Ministries. We also conducted two focus groups and 10 in-depth interviews. Most participants were female (65.7%), African American (81.6%) and were been born in Chester (66.2%). More than half (63.6%) receive SNAP/Food Stamp benefits.

Food shopping patterns

All study participants reported traveling outside Chester, to Brookhaven, Eddystone or Upland, to do most of their food shopping. Equal numbers of participants took the bus, drove their own car, or got a ride from a friend or a relative to do their shopping. Prices were the most important consideration in choosing a food store, but participants also care about food quality, selection, customer service, and convenience. When asked what they would most like to change about the food stores in their neighborhood, participants most frequently said cheaper prices and a supermarket.

Eating patterns, food insecurity and health

Half of all participants had received food from a food pantry at one time. Three quarters of participants said that they sometimes or often worry about food running out in their household and that sometimes or often the food just did not last. More than half reported having a chronic health condition such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

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