Category: Evaluation

Your Edge in a Changing Marketplace: Thinking like a Retailer

Customer base | Farm Business and Marketing | Promotion, Outreach, and Special Events

Farmers markets are no longer the only option for shoppers seeking locally grown foods. Is your markets’ brand, products, and shopping experience keeping pace with an evolving marketplace? Learn about savvy retailer strategies to understand and promote your best assets and make your customers feel special.  This session will offer a variety of strategies to help put your market in the spotlight and grow customer loyalty to keep you on the cutting edge of the changing local food landscape.

Co-hosted with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Presenter: Eric Barrett, Ohio State University Extension
Moderator: Brian Moyer, Penn State University Extension

Webinar Resources (pdf)
Webinar Slidedeck (pdf)

Published March 21, 2014 Download Resource Presentationvideo

Understanding Your Market Base: Strategic Surveys to Make More Shoppers Core Shoppers

Evaluation | Management and Operations


Do you know what characteristics distinguish between your market’s core, higher spending customers and the ones that just shop periodically? How can a detailed understanding of a farmers markets’ most loyal shoppers translate into strategies to systematically grow the core customer base? On this webinar, learn about the findings revealed by an in-depth study of market shoppers conducted by Ontario’s Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network, including customer demographics, motivations, spending habits, and much more. Presenters discuss some practical methods for researching customer perceptions, habits, and motivations in order to continuously improve services, spending, and satisfaction.

View the Webinar Slidedeck

View the Resources PDF

Greenbelt Farmers’ Market 2012 Customer Survey


Anne Freeman, Project Co-ordinator, Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network
Hélène St. Jacques, M. Ed., President, Informa Market Research Co. Ltd.
Co-hosted with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Published January 16, 2014 PresentationSurvey

The Consumer & the Farmers Market: What the Research Shows Us


This powerpoint presentation reviews Mid-Atlantic consumer attitudes and behaviors related to farmers markets.  Includes distinguishing characteristics of farmers market shoppers in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Richmond, and New York City, as well as perceptions about what products are purchased and perceptions about what kinds of locally grown crops are available.

Funding for the study was provided by  a 2008 USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative grant.
Published January 12, 2014 Publisher Website Download Resource PresentationReportSurvey

New Hampshire Farmers Market Manager and & Customer Surveys

Evaluation | Management and Operations

A 2013 customer survey at 24 farmers markets conducted by the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and UNH Cooperative Extension found that the majority of customers spend between $26 an $50 per visit, 77 percent travel fewer than 10 miles to their farmers market and 46 percent shop at their local farmers market once per week.

Published January 12, 2014 Publisher Website Download Resource ReportSurvey

Marketing Research and Strategy for Growing Sales Opportunities at Puget Sound Farmers Markets


This detailed research effort seeks to identify attributes of target consumers for farmers markets, perceived challenges, opportunities and strategies to attract these consumers to expand and strengthen the customer base for the region’s farmers markets, with specific recommendations for addressing issues unique to the four proxy markets.  The report also addresses the perceptions and barriers of 2nd tier farmers market shoppers.

Published January 12, 2014 Publisher Website Download Resource ReportSurvey

Researching Farmer Characteristics and Strategically Deploying the Data

Evaluation | Public Policies | State Association Development

Webinar Q&A (pdf)

Farmers markets are nothing without farmers. And even within a single market, these producers have diverse backgrounds, defying generalizations. Understanding their characteristics, motivations, and needs is critical in order to continually improve market operations, measure market outcomes, and be accountable to organizational missions. Colleen Donovan, researcher on a comprehensive statewide analysis of farmers markets with Washington State University, leads her presentation on this webinar with an overview of findings from a recent statewide vendor survey, followed by practical advice on how to better understand farmers market producers and use findings in a range of important contexts.

Colleen Donovan, Small Farms Program, Washington State University
Colleen has worked with farmers in Washington State since 2003 and coordinated farmers market research for the Washington State University’s Small Farms Program and Farmers Market Action Team since 2010. She co-authored the “Washington State Farmers Market Management Toolkit” with Karen Kinney in 2012. Colleen serves on the board of the Washington State Farmers Market Association and was named the “2011 Advocate of the Year” by the Tilth Producers of Washington. She has a B.S. from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; MA in Geography from the University of Washington.

Darlene Wolnik is a food system consultant, focused on researching and analyzing entrepreneurial systems such as farmers markets and other direct and indirect sales outlets for regional food producers. Since 2001, she has been working on farmers markets and food systems, first as the Deputy Director at Market Umbrella in New Orleans and then since 2011, as an independent consultant for over three-dozen projects across the country, including an 2013 analysis of Vermont’s farmers market currency programs and an upcoming report on direct market farming in Mississippi.

Published December 09, 2013 Publisher Website PresentationReport

Farmers Markets and the Experiences of Market Managers in Washington State: Summary Report

Evaluation | State Association Development

The research, conducted through in-depth surveys of market managers throughout Washington State, documents the current capacity of Washington State farmers markets to generate income for farmers, improve the environment, and provide assets to communities; as well as to assess their long-term sustainability. The report also identifies the organizational and management strategies of successful market organizations, examining the following:

  • General farmers market characteristics
  • Farmers market vendors and products
  • Farmers market sales, customers, and business development
  • Organizational structure of farmers markets
  • Community and environmental dynamics
  • Farmers market personnel
Published December 03, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource ReportState & Local PolicySurvey

Local Food and Diversity in Public Space: A Study of the Perceptions and Practices of Minneapolis Farmers Market Customers

Customer base | Evaluation

Report arguing that the availability of locally grown and non-local food encourages diversity at farmers markets and makes some suggestions to increase market diversity across the categories of class, race, age and ability.

Published December 01, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource Report

An Evaluation of Consumer Segments for Farmers’ Market Consumers in Indiana and Illinois

Evaluation | Farm Business and Marketing | Promotion, Outreach, and Special Events

Report detailing research done in Spring 2005 and Fall 2009 to explore differences based on psychographic and behavioral characteristics of farmers’ market consumers. Data analysis showed that four clusters were formed: Recreational (42%), Minimalists (27%), Enthusiasts (23%) and Time-challenged (8%). Each cluster had a unique set of preferences based on farmers’ market attributes ranging from overall convenience of the shopping trip to the presence of nearby stores. Differences in consumer segments suggest that farmers’ market managers can develop specific marketing messages toward each segment.

Published November 17, 2013 Download Resource Report

Increasing Customers and Sales at Farmers Markets: Target Marketing Campaign with PCFMA

Evaluation | Promotion, Outreach, and Special Events

Presentation discussing the results of a collaboration between Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association (PCFMA) and USDA Agricultural Market Service to determine the effectiveness of target marketing as a viable promotional strategy to increase farmers market patronage.

Published November 17, 2013 Publisher Website Download Resource PresentationReportSurvey