At the 2012 Food Secure Canada National Assembly, Jenica Frisque and Dr. David Connell summarize the results of a survey of BC Farmer Markets in 2012 looking at farmers markets' economic and social benefits.
The project was led by Dr. David J. Connell, Associate Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia. Using the rapid market assessment from the University of Oregon, they did crowd counts, and using an easy survey process using dots they asked 4 questions: How much did they spend? How often did they come? When they start shopping at the market? How much additional spending did they plan to do at neighbouring businesses? Additional questions were what draws you to the market and how did you find out about the market? Results were compared with an equivalent survey in 2006, which was also completed by David Connell.
Dr Connell continues the presentation by showing the farmer trends for vendors who sell at farmer markets. Vendors rely on primarily on farm gate sales but farmer markets are a key marketing tool. Farmers with higher revenues sell at more markets; The challenge for farmers markets is to determine the core business of the market. They are not merely a collection of vendors. So what market niche do farmers markets occupy? Dr. Connell advocates a more business like approach, recognizing they are in the Farm Direct niche, emphaisizing personal relationships with farmer vendors and social relationships at the market.
Jenica Frisque is a Research Associate with the BC Association of Farmers' Markets and UNBC. Dr. David Connell is Associate Professor at UNBC.