[Market-farming] rural markets

John Hendrickson jhendric at wisc.edu
Tue Apr 17 13:12:14 EDT 2007


A farmers' market certainly could help.  The trouble many growers 
experience with small rural markets, however, is low customer volumes 
and (as opposed to more affluent urban markets) unwillingness to pay 
decent prices.  Plus there is the issue of many people in rural areas 
already having their own gardens.  This often results in an unprofitable 
situation for vendors...and frustration over spending 4 hours at a 
market and only having $25 to $50 to show for your effort (including 
production, harvest, travel, set-up, market expenses, etc.).  I know 
growers who won't bother with a market unless they can earn at least 
$250; for many, this figure is even higher.  I hate to sound 
discouraging, but I would do your homework very well before moving 
forward.  The good news is that farmers' markets can and do help sustain 
small towns if there is enough support and they are well-organized.  I 
do sense that there needs to be a critical mass of community support and 
existing businesses in order for things to really revive.  If the town's 
already dead, a farmers' market won't perform miracles all by itself.

-John

roxann wrote:
> Has anyone had any experience with farmer's markets in very rural locations? our town is very small, pop. ~ 400-500, but we're also pretty isolated. our town square is dying, as the businesses are closing and our wonderful old buildings are lying unused. the old mercantile store shut down recently and the owner is open to working with me to establish a market there. the town is a tourist rest-stop, crossroads in the middle of nowhere and lots of bikers pass through on saturdays. there is one general store with a bathroom and necessities, and a grill, still open but she is flailing, too, and i don't know how much longer she can hold out. something like a farmer's market to bring the people to the square more often would likely help the few remaining businesses. the locals seem to enjoy coming out of the hills and woods for even the smallest things, so i am thinking this might be something that might help. 
>
> roxann, kingston, ar
> http://blog.ancientearthwisdom.com
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>   


-- 
John Hendrickson
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1535 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
608-265-3704
jhendric at wisc.edu
www.cias.wisc.edu





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