Farmers' markets offer new business opportunities for farmers
Gail Feenstra, UC Davis
Christopher Lewis, UC Davis
California Agriculture 53(6):25-29. DOI: 10.3733/ca.v053n06p25.
This survey of farmers' market managers shows that farmers' markets offer growers opportunities to expand their businesses by developing new market venues, including community-supported agriculture, institutional food buyers and government food programs; creating value-added products; and making connections with the agritourism industry. The size and location of host communities contribute different kinds of business expansion opportunities. Markets in rural areas offer some of the strongest community support to vendors and link them with the tourist industry. Small-town markets have added the most new vendors in the last 3 years and almost two-thirds of these markets have space, indicating that there is still room for growth. Markets in metropolitan areas may be harder to get into, but they provide the highest gross sales and show the greatest increase in demand for value-added products over the last 3 years. Managers can help growers capitalize on these opportunities through the rapport and connections they develop with community businesses, associations and institutions.
G. Feenstra is Food Systems Analyst UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, UC Davis; C. Lewis is Postgraduate Researcher UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, UC Davis;