For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth Comiskey
August 7, 2012
Farmers Market Coalition Celebrates Farmers Markets as Economic Engines
During National Farmers Market Week
While unemployment hovers at high levels this summer, entrepreneurship is thriving in unexpected places. With little fanfare, the nation’s several thousand farmers markets are growing jobs and strengthening local and regional economies.
United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proclaimed August 5-11, 2012 as National Farmers Market Week. Since 2000, the number of recorded farmers markets has grown over 170%, from 2,863 markets in 2000 to more than 7,800 in 2012. As demand grows for fresh local food, and shoppers seek relationships with the farms that make such food possible, farmers markets represent an important retail option that bolster local economies in communities large and small.
Research shows, too, that farmers markets spur spending at neighboring businesses. A 2010 study of the Easton Farmers Market in Pennsylvania, for example, found that 70% of farmers market customers are also shopping at downtown businesses, spending up to an extra $26,000 each week.
The 52 producers of the Williamsburg Farmers Market in Virginia generated an estimated $48,969.84 in state sales tax in 2011, supporting the state economy. Thirty-two percent of Crescent City Farmers Market shoppers in New Orleans report spending money at nearby businesses, resulting in $3.2 million in projected gross receipts and an annual contribution of $151,621 to local sales tax revenue.
A 2011 Economic Research Service report found that fruit and vegetable farms selling into local and regional markets employ 13 fulltime workers per $1 million in revenue earned, for a total of 61,000 jobs in 2008. Comparatively, fruit and vegetable farms that are not selling locally employed only 3 fulltime workers per $1 million in revenue.
“Farmers markets are the ultimate green sector of the economy,” says Bernadine Prince, President of the Farmers Market Coalition. “They are stand-out successes in and spurring sustainable economic development. During Farmers Market Week, FMC encourages everyone to spend at least $10 at a local farmers market, and celebrate the power of farmers markets to incubate entrepreneurship and nourish both rural and urban economies.”
Seven Days, Seven Ways to Celebrate Farmers Market Impacts
Innovative partnerships that allow markets to serve as hubs of information
Promoting good nutrition and healthful habits
Business incubation, job development, and local spending
Governance and policies that put farmers first
Improving access to healthful foods in underserved neighborhoods
Growing social capital and engaging volunteers
Supporting agricultural diversity and farm viability, while inspiring a new generation of producers
The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to strengthening farmers markets for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and communities.
Learn more at FarmersMarketCoalition.org.