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Study highlights growth for agricultural markets

March 10, 2009  By Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development


March 10, 2009, Edmonton, Alb. – According to a new study, 90 per cent
of Alberta households indicated they had purchased local food in the
past 12 months and nearly one-third of Alberta households say they will
buy more local food in the next year.

March 10, 2009, Edmonton, Alb. – According to a new study, 90 per cent of Alberta households indicated they had purchased local food in the past 12 months and nearly one-third of Alberta households say they will buy more local food in the next year.

The study undertaken by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development was conducted in September 2008. It looked at farmers’ markets; food grown, made or processed in Alberta; direct-farm retail and farm activities – all areas that experienced impressive growth or showed great potential.

The study looked at the growth and potential growth of alternative agriculture markets over the past five years. With the increasing trend towards healthy eating, the rising popularity of local diets and the increasing awareness of transportation concerns, farmers’ markets are now more popular than ever. The study also showed encouraging growth potential for farm activity and direct-farm retail markets.

Since 2004 the average spending per visit to a farmers’ market has increased from $35 to $45, a 30-per-cent increase well in excess of inflation. The annual spending at farmers’ markets rose from $317 to $449 per household. Currently, farmers’ markets in Alberta have an estimated $380 million in annual sales, up from $233 million in 2004.

Participation in farm activities was also up over the past five years. Per-trip spending changes for farm activities saw a 40 per cent increase from $124 to $174, and there was a seven per cent increase in spending for direct farm retail up from $109 to $116. Food grown or produced in local-markets dominated what customers were purchasing at the different businesses. Approximately $4 out of every $5 dollars is spent on local food.

Revenue from farm activities is estimated at $62 million and direct-farm retail is valued at $181 million. More than 1,000 randomly selected Alberta households were surveyed in the study. For more information, visit www.agriculture.alberta.ca.


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