Seasonality, food origin, and food preference: A comparison between food cooperative members and nonmembers

Jennifer Lynn Wilkins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


A growing body of evidence supports the link between optimal health and diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods. Most areas of the United States experience significant seasonal variation in the availability of locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables. However, little is known about consumer attitudes toward locally grown produce that is available on a seasonal basis. A mail survey was used to explore differences in preference for local foods, concerns about food and health, environmental concerns, and dietary habits between food cooperative members and nonmembers in the greater Seattle area. In contrast to nonmembers, food cooperative members displayed a stronger preference for seasonal and local foods. They also evinced less doubt about the nutritional adequacy of regionally based diets and a stronger commitment to buying locally produced food as a way to conserve natural resources. In both groups, a preference for seasonal and local fruits and vegetables was significantly correlated with concern for the environment. For food cooperative members, a concern over the use of natural resources in food production was a significant explanatory variable for seasonal and local food preference. Implications for food and nutrition education, policy, and the food system are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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