Understanding Your Community and Customer Base
It’s important to understand the community surrounding your market in order to serve your shoppers well. Take the time to do preliminary research into local demographics to ensure that your farmers market is truly accessible to the neighborhood.
The statewide Michigan Farmers Market Association released an updated Farmers Market Feasibility Assessment Guide in 2014, which provides prospective farmers market operators with a number of tools to assist in gathering demographic information, SNAP and other statistics related to hunger, and guidance on conducting a comprehensive community assessment. Even if your market already exists, the resource is a helpful means of collecting rich and useful data while determining community needs.
Comprehensive data collection is increasingly important as farmers markets are tasked with demonstrating their value to communities, government agencies, and funders. Start with basic data collection for your SNAP program—for example, tracking SNAP transactions or customers—and determine your capacity for more robust collection like end-of-year customer and farmer surveys.
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