Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

David A. Himmelgreen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lorena Madrigal, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Linda M. Whiteford, Ph.D.


community development, health, low-income, nutrition, political economy


For the past decade, Florida’s Latino population has significantly increased and is now the third largest in the United States. The same trend has also occurred in Hillsborough County. Social and economic disparities are significant as Latinos earn less than non-Hispanic whites and many live in poverty. A major concern of this population is the lack of access to inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables. Findings from prior research show that the diet of immigrants often change quickly upon their arrival to the United States, with an increased emphasis on fast food and soft drinks and a reduction in the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Changing dietary patterns among Latinos in the United States show a shift towards more processed and refined foods, which can adversely affect health over time.

Project New Life, Good Health (NLGH) was a community-based program, funded by several local agencies. The project centered on providing nutrition education, health education, and a farmers market to low income Latino families, including recently arrived immigrants living in and around Tampa, Florida. The objectives of NLGH were defined in accordance with community input through a series of meetings at a church in which many Latinos attend. The overall goal of NLGH was to increase knowledge about a healthy lifestyle and improve access to low-cost fresh fruits and vegetables through the associated farmers market.

Over 400 people attended the farmers markets within a six month time frame and 46 individuals were interviewed at the five farmer’s market events. While the data show that some newly arrived immigrants attended the farmers markets, the majority of attendees were longer term residents, which lived in the U.S. for an average of 11 years. In addition, to fresh produce and nutrition education activities, social service and health care providers were also available at the farmer’s markets events. Finally, artisans, dancers, and other community members and groups provided culturally appropriate entertainment to the attendees.

This thesis examines the processes involved in organizing and implementing a community-based farmers market for a local low-income Latino community. While the information provided here will not work in all settings and with all populations, it does provide important insights into the process of developing and implementing communitybased programs that center on food and nutrition issues.