Pittsburgh Releases Farmers Market Study with FMC Recommendations

      Posted On: March 14, 2019

by Dar Wolnik, FMC Senior Advisor | darlene@farmersmarketcoalition.org


Over the past year and half, the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) has been working with the City of Pittsburgh to analyze the more than two-dozen markets that serve residents in the summer months.

FMC staff reviewed published reports on the regional food system, conducted interviews with direct marketing producers, market partners, and technical assistance providers, and co-hosted community meetings with the City of Pittsburgh.

The regional justice non-profit, Just Harvest, which created and manages the Fresh Access program at most Western PA markets, shared data on the SNAP/incentive program and offered analysis of local market organizations throughout the process.

Community meeting participants engage in discussion groups and present major themes and threads back to the crowd.

FMC also utilized the Farmers Market Metrics tool to gather market-day data at the eight city-managed farmers markets, and interviewed leaders at the other markets that operate in and around the city. The report, titled “Strengthening Pittsburgh’s Farmers Markets,” was completed in January of 2019. Recommendations for the city include:  

  • managing best-in-class markets, 
  • establishing the City of Pittsburgh as an active facilitator of farmers market development, and
  • implementing effective city-wide programs and promotions including an up-to-date online directory. 

The study also identifies further steps necessary to put the recommendations into play. As Jen Cheek, FMC’s Program Director notes, “success requires careful planning, robust promotion, strong partnerships, responsive programming, and constant monitoring.”

“Having this road map, as well as increased resources and staff, will help us take the city-run markets to new levels,” said Brian Katze, manager of the City’s Office of Special Events.

Squirrel Hill Farmers Market in Pittsburgh, PA

The city has released the report in anticipation of the full start to the summer market season. The city’s Project Director Shelly Danko+Day presented the findings at a regional market manager meeting in February and will present it to market vendors this week.

FMC looks forward to seeing how this innovative city government and its market partners use this data to build an even more vibrant food system in Western Pennsylvania. 

Read the report here:


Interested in FMC’s technical assistance and consulting services? We’re here to help. Contact Dar Wolnik at darlene@farmersmarketcoalition.org to learn more, or visit: http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/networking/technical-assistance-services/