Take a look at farming, for instance. Our farmers market helps sustain small and medium sized farms. Without a farmers market, smaller scale farmers can run into the roadblock of facing high competition from larger, industrialized agriculture. By selling their goods at farmers’ markets, these smaller farms can increase their viability, since returns are generally 200-250 per cent higher than what they receive from wholesalers.
We also provide entrepreneurial opportunities. Farmers markets can serve as small business incubators, encouraging residents to sell homemade items such as baked goods, jams, or crafts. Our market manager works closely with our vendors to help them merchandise and make their tables more attractive. We provide resources so they can learn to better manage their business as it grows. Vending in farmers markets requires very low start-up capital—usually less than $1,000. Success in those businesses can present upward mobility for low-income residents.
Social and educational opportunities are also shared through our farmers market. We provide a space for both interaction and learning, a place that shoppers are not likely to find at conventional food markets. Community organizations often conduct outreach or educational activities at farmers’ markets—including nutritional
education—and shoppers often report that they attend the markets partially for social reasons.
We try to help our market goers learn more about eating locally. Vendors are always happy to offer advice and tell shoppers how they like to prepare a meal using seasonally available produce.
Ensuring that people have the nutritional knowledge to make the right food choices, understanding how to prepare healthy meals, and having enough money to purchase these foods are all important contributors to a healthy community.