Calling All Farmers Market Experts! That Means YOU, Market Managers!

      Posted On: July 13, 2010

In 2006, the USDA conducted a survey about farmers market sales, performance, organization, composition as part of the USDA National Farmers Market Survey.  Who did they ask?  The ultimate experts on farmers markets: the market managers themselves, of course!  More than 1,200 of them, actually. And the results were compiled into a rich report that has yielded valuable insights about the farmers market sector, and continues to inform the farmers market industry today.

But it’s now five years later, and the farmers market industry has certainly evolved tremendously.  Farmers markets are changing their sizes, locations, hours, sales, and staff.  Best practices in organization, outreach, and vendor composition are changing. Farmers markets continue to have a profound impact on local and regional food systems and local economies.

But one thing stays the same: the expertise of the market managers.

The 2010 Farmers Market Managers Survey is now online, and to get a fuller understanding of the farmers market industry, the USDA urges all farmers market managers to participate. With the Survey data, the USDA will produce an updated report that will be available to all farmers market stakeholders – from researchers to vendors; from economists to community planners; from policy makers to member of the press.   In addition to offering statistics about sales, staffing and vendor selection, the Survey results can track how each individual market contributes to trends in the industry, and in turn, how those trends can inform individual markets.

“The USDA National Farmers Market Manager Survey is a resource the Farmers Market Coalition relies on consistently to evaluate emerging trends, growth areas, and effectiveness of farmers markets around the country,” says Sharon Yeago, FMC President.  “It has helped us develop programs and services to meet these needs for our members and the farmers market community at large.  The few minutes it takes individual market managers to complete the survey is really a major investment in the future of all farmers markets across the country.”

So for market managers, now is the time to offer your expertise to others in the field.  The USDA National Farmers Survey is up through August 6th. To participate, follow the easy directions here. Got more questions?  Some of them are already answered here.