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Earlier this week, I asked the question: How many farmers markets is too many? On a related note, this new study [PDF] looked at Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption — one of the main variables driving farmers market sales.
How close do we come to eating the recommended five servings a day? Not very. Only about one-quarter of Americans manage it. And if you’re one of those who do, chances are you’re a well-educated, middle-aged, married woman of color without kids, who gets a moderate amount of exercise. This is great — but sadly there just aren’t enough of you!
The researchers from Minnesota’s Essentia Institute of Rural Health also found an interesting urban/rural split. It turns out that in most states, rural residents are less likely to eat the recommended number of servings of fruit and vegetables — despite living right next to the very farm fields where they’re being grown. In fact, there seems to be a direct negative correlation between a state’s agricultural production and its rural residents’ fruit and vegetable consumption. According to the study:
Of the 11 states where a higher proportion of rural adults consumed at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables when compared to the non-rural adult population, only one state, Hawaii, was [also] ranked in the top 10 states for fruit and vegetable production.
As California Watch noted, it’s deeply problematic that this pattern is evident even in the nation’s top fruit and vegetable producing state — California — where slightly fewer rural residents eat their veggies than their urban counterparts. That said, it turns out that only around 25 percent of urban Californians eat all five servings a day.