The Power of Regional Collaboration for Local Farmers Markets
With the popularity of local farmers markets, the workload for Market Managers has increased due to increased competition of markets, a shortage of available farmers, and the addition of food assistance programs and other programs now available to markets.
Market Managers we are working harder than ever to make our markets #1. We are adding terrific programs that we often do not have the time to devote to but add them because other markets are doing so and we see a value for our markets.
Often the outcome is that these programs are not bringing more customers to our markets. We are oversaturated with farmers markets. Every city wants one. Can you blame them? We are drawn to colorful local produce as well as healthy diverse foods.
With the increase of farmers markets, there are not enough farmers for the markets. Although the markets in the high income cities can have as many as fourteen farmers, it’s the markets in the low income cities that often have one to three farmers while other markets struggle to get that one farmer.
Customers want to see an abundance of colorful local produce as well as healthy diverse foods at their local market. They want foods such as honey, free range eggs, steroid-free meats and poultry as well as the yummy baked goods, jams etc.
In order to give the customer what they want, Market Managers are collaborating on a state wide and national level with the Michigan Farmers Market Association and the Farmers Market Coalition, to increase access to an abundance of local produce and healthy diverse foods.
Markets can be improved by collaborating with other markets on advertising, marketing, farming, transportation and many other things. Markets can collaborate on grants as well. An example of successful regional would be Detroit Community Markets and Washtenaw County markets.