A body of literature has noted that local food systems (LFSs) may not involve active participation by individuals with lower incomes. This is, in part, a function of racial and class hegemony, as well as physical and financial accessibility of LFSs. LFS institutions, such as farmers’ markets, have been working to facilitate receipt of food assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Charitable assistance programs, such as food banks, have also been actively working to engage in LFSs, for example, by making local foods available. However, little research has explored the role that receiving public or charitable assistance can play in influencing LFS participation. In this article, I utilize quantitative and qualitative data collected from across the state of Ohio to examine the relationship between receiving assistance and LFS participation for women, who remain predominately responsible for food provisioning in the U.S., including among those who participate in LFSs. Quantitative results suggest that receiving assistance can increase participation in LFSs. Qualitative data provides more nuanced information about the importance of food assistance for women who want to participate in LFSs, and suggest that it is essential that food cooperatives and farmers’ markets are equipped to receive food assistance programs, such as SNAP, in order for women with lower incomes to participate in LFSs.
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