Farmers Markets Stimulate Local Economies

With little fanfare, the nation’s several thousand farmers markets are growing jobs and strengthening local and regional economies. 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.

  • Growers selling locally create 13 full time jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those that do not sell locally create 3.
  • For every $100 spent at a farmers market, $62 stays in the local economy, and $99 stays in state.
  • 41% of shoppers at Portland (Oregon) Farmers Markets said that their main reason for shopping at these markets was to support the local economy.
  • In Iowa and Oklahoma, every dollar spent at farmers markets led to an additional $0.58 – $1.36 in sales at other nearby businesses.
  • Wyoming’s economy was bolstered by more than $2.2 million in 2012 from sales at the state’s farmers markets.
  • In 2011, Glenwood Sunday Market in Chicago, Illinois had an estimated economic impact of $1.3 million, including sales to other businesses made possible by the market.
  • A 2010 study by USDA’s Economic Research Service compared producers selling salad mix, blueberries, milk, beef and apples locally with producers of the same products selling to mainstream supply chains. “In all five cases, nearly all of the wage and proprietor income earned in the local market chains is retained in the local economy”.
  • At the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans, 32% of Market shoppers spend 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.
  • The 52 producers of the Williamsburg Farmers Market in Virginia generated an estimated $48,969 in state sales tax in 2011, supporting the state economy.
  • Boise, Idaho’s Capital City Public Market generated an estimated $4.5 million in economic activity for the local economy in 2011.
  • A Virginia Cooperative Extension report showed if households in Southern Virginia spent 15% of their weekly food budget on locally grown food products, $90 million in new farm income would be created for the region.

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. They are stand-out successes in and spurring sustainable economic development.” Bernadine Prince, President, Farmers Market Coalition

“Farmers Markets are the most genuine type of commerce. Selling at the market
allowed us to start our business slowly and focus on building our brand and customer base. It gave us confidence. We wouldn’t be here without the market.” Freddy Kaufmann, Owner, Proper Sausages, Miami Shores, Florida

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