An Indiana University study that looked at consumers who buy locally grown and produced foods through farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs found that the venues largely attract a "privileged" class of shoppers.
The study authors interpret their findings to imply:
a need for broadening local food opportunities beyond the privileged, higher-income consumer through alternative payment plans and strategic efforts that make fresh foods accessible to a diversity of people.
I don't quite understand this logic. If I did a study on the market for automobiles, I'd no doubt find that consumers who buy BMWs and Mercedes represent a "privileged class of shoppers." But, would this then imply that we need to broad support for buying (i.e., use taxpayer money to subsidize purchases of) BMWs and Mercedes beyond privileged higher-income consumers?
I think it's great that richer people can find opportunities to express their demand for foods with unique characteristics. But, I don't know why we should expect this to be the norm for everyone. If your goal is to find inexpensive, healthy food without spending a lot of time shopping and coordinating with others, local foods is unlikely to be an attractive option.
If you want to expand demand for local food, the answer isn't "alternative payment plans" or "strategic efforts" but rather to make poor people richer so that they want (and can afford) the things local foods provide. Of course, no one quite knows how to make poor people richer but this is the fundamental issue at stake - not whether we should try to force certain foods on people who have other, more pressing worries in life.