Farmers’ markets sell community shopping experience
By Farmers' Markets Ontario
By Farmers' Markets Ontario
March 9, 2009, St. Catherines, Ont.– Getting healthier, fresh, locally
produced fruits, vegetables and baked goods are an important reason for
shopping at one of Ontario’s 154 farmers’ markets.
March 9, 2009, St. Catherines, Ont.– Getting healthier, fresh, locally produced fruits, vegetables and baked goods are an important reason for shopping at one of Ontario’s 154 farmers’ markets.
However, a recent study indicates that the number one reason shoppers patronize their local farmers’ market is due to their strong belief in the integrity of shopping in their community and their desire to meet and get to know the producers of the food they eat.
Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO ) recently completed the fourth in a series of studies launched over the last decade to benchmark and calculate the economic impact of Ontario farmers’ markets. The study also gave greater understanding of the barriers and opportunity for farmers’ markets along with analysis of shoppers, non-shoppers, vendors and market managers. The results were presented at the annual general meeting of FMO held on Feb. 17 in St. Catharines, Ont.
“The key message we took away from this study is that Farmers’ Markets Ontario needs to get more markets, with more farmer vendors to produce and sell an even greater variety of products,” says Robert Chorney, FMO executive director. “The demand is growing rapidly and we need more producers to fill that demand.”
The study showed that market shoppers expressed a strong sense of community pride in supporting local producers and that meeting the actual producer was part of their community shopping experience. Shoppers felt strongly (93 per cent) about the importance of being able to buy directly from a farmer, with 67 per cent calling it extremely important. Almost half of vendors report that 50 per cent or more of their total farm income is generated through farmers’ market sales.
Vendors and shoppers are not the only winners. Ontario farmers’ markets are also an important contributor to the Ontario economy with direct sales in 2008 estimated at $641 million, and a province-wide economic impact of up to $1.9 billion annually.
This emphasizes the key role that farmers’ markets play in not only selling Canadian agricultural products and generating farm incomes, but also how strongly farmers’ markets contribute to both the economy and to the fabric of their communities. For Ontario, all this is derived from more than 15 million shopper visits with an average spending of $27.67 per visit.
“Farmers’ Markets Ontario recognizes the strong growth opportunities for farmers’ markets and are moving forward with aggressive marketing and promotion strategies,” explains Philip Powell, chair of FMO. “We are actively seeking out additional vendors and market locations as well as assisting vendors with better signage, advertising and website information.”
For locations, dates and other information on farmers’ markets in Ontario please visit www.farmersmarketsontario.com.