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Farmer's Markets: Creating and Sustaining Communities

A 2013 report was published by Columbia University, in collaboration with Projects for Public Spaces, titled ‘Farmers Markets as a Strategy to Improve Access to Healthy Food for Low Income Families and Communities’. The scholarly report draws conclusions from the 2009 study, which aimed at answering the following questions (Farmers Markets): 1. What strategies are most effective in developing financially sustainable farmers markets in low-to-moderate income communities across a range of settings? 2. What market characteristics are effective in attracting low income and minority community shoppers to shop at farmer’s markets? 3. How does Children/Youth Oriented farmer’s market programming affect orientation to healthy eating?

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This project examined a national cross section of eight individual farmer’s markets, which are located near low-income communities and serve ethnically diverse populations. Using a shopper survey-based methodology, the project findings revealed two key takeaways:
‘Price is not a barrier’- The study revealed that interestingly, low-income shoppers tended to use the market for a majority of their weekly needs whereas middle and upper class consumers saw the market more as a novelty and a place to get only specialty foods.
‘Information is key’- The information collected during the project included surveys from individuals who did not shop at the market. The main reasons given for consumers not shopping at the market were lack of information regarding the time and location of markets, as well as the limited slection of offerings at some markets.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Low income communities

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