[Market-farming] Grower Only Farmers Markets

Beth Spaugh lists at rhomestead.com
Wed Jan 24 21:42:26 EST 2007


Some insights to help you answer questions that may arise about why
"grower-only":

1. Our mission is support local farmers and encourage local food production,
as well as provide customers with the best ... 
	There are several results to allowing vendors to buy in for resale:
	a. Customers become loyal to vendors in their first couple of
visits. The vendor who has a table full of out-of-season corn or tomatoes,
which are popular items, captures the customers, who frequently continue to
purchase the "bought-in" even after the local farmers have them for sale.
	b. Even buying from other local farmers has dangers. Vendors learn
that it is much easier to just buy from others and go to many markets than
it is to actually produce the produce/baked goods/crafts, whatever and
market them. However, a rule that sets a small region that items may be
bought in from seems OK to me. As long as the vendor acknowledges that he
has bought these and where from. 
	c. Allowing vendors to buy in wholesale taints all the vendors'
reputations. Customers don't know who to trust as meeting their "farmers
market" expectations.
	d. Frequently the person buying wholesale can resell for a lower
price than profitable small-scale local production allows. It undermines the
local growers. 
	e. The vendor who buys wholesale is seldom knowledgeable of the
production practices used on what he is selling. This is important to many
customers.

2. The market does not need to be a grocery store. I assume there is a
grocery store in town where folks  can buy out-of-season products. There is
no need to have out-of-season produce at the market. (There are those who
vehemently differ with this notion.) The market can complement local stores.

3. Consider a rule that at least 50% of vendors must be farm-based. Though I
like to think we are all in it as a team, in reality those with
non-perishable and craft items have different customer needs than produce
vendors have. In "farm based" I am including honey, maple syrup, meat,
cheese, eggs, baked goods that supplement a grower's stall, crafts that are
farm based, flowers, bedding plants, etc). 
	Vendors relying on sales of items that folks do not purchase
regularly - maple syrup, honey, crafts - need as many new faces in the
market each week as possible. Produce/meat/etc vendors need a good core of
regular customers. Festivals, etc that clog up the parking lot for regulars
bring in customers who are not prepared to buy lettuce, etc. 
	 The non-produce vendors tend to want the market to start as early
as possible so they have more sales days. This not only forces the
produce/flower farmers to grow bedding plants and takes time away from early
production but also puts pressure to have out-of-season produce brought in
TO BRING IN CUSTOMERS FOR THE NON-PRODUCE VENDORS. This is not something I
am imagining. We have been in big fight the last couple of years trying to
even get bought-in stuff labeled, and I have been told to my face that we
need the out-of-season produce to bring in customers for the other vendors.
Not for the farmers. For the non-farm vendors.
	This works against the mission of supporting local farmers.

Remember, not everyone is sympathetic to farmers, so your suggestion to
relate to economic impact, benefit to the community, etc is good. 

I did a quick Google on "economic impact of farmers market" and got the
following:

http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/news/newsreleases/2005/markets_051005.htm

http://www.agrinewsinteractive.com/features/farmersmarkets/farmersmarkets.ht
ml

http://www.unbc.ca/assets/planning/localfood/reports/unbc_province_report.pd
f

As a general rule, organic organizations/farmers tend to be more
producer-only oriented than non-organic groups. Perhaps PASA is the group or
know the group you were looking for in PA.


Beth Spaugh
Rehoboth Homestead
Peru NY
http://rhomestead.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Allan Balliett [mailto:aballiett at frontiernet.net] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 9:16 AM
To: Market Farming
Subject: [Market-farming] Grower Only Farmers Markets

I'm really interested in talking our town council into supporting a grower
only market here. Although I can find many grower only markets advertised on
the web, I can't seem to find any succinct 'grower only market' philosophy
laid out, something that I could show the town council, something about how
supporting local growers is good for the entire community. I thought there
was actually a 'grower only market' 
advocacy group operating out of PA, but I haven't been able to find
hide-nor-hair of that group.

Can anyone help?

thanks

_Allan Balliett
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