Can We Reverse the 2016 Trend of Decreased Consumer Activity at Farmers Markets?


The summer of 2016 was marked with moderate to severe drought across New York State. Farmers struggled to have salable crops to bring to the farmers market. With the devastation that drought brings to farmers, they also reported decreased customer counts and sales while participating at markets. With few exceptions, market managers and farmers all reported a decrease in customer counts. Some farmers reported sales down anywhere from 20% to 70%. Many speculations were made on what caused the downturn: media hype regarding the impact of the drought on local farmers, over-proliferation of farmers markets in many areas of the state cannibalizing each other’s customer base; increasing options for consumers to purchase local reducing their dependence on farmers markets to access local food, customer response to the “inconvenience” of farmers markets, or any other, as yet, unknown causes.

The Federation, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, is purposing a project to provide markets with the tools they need to build a solid business foundation for the market, learn what customers think about farmers markets and provide a toolkit of information to assist farmers markets in maintaining and growing their customer base and restoring and increasing farmers sales at the markets where they are participating.

To help craft the project to reflect the needs of markets and their participating farmers, we need your help. We have created an online survey for your input. The responses will help us draft a grant proposal to fund the project. Please respond no later than Friday, February 17.

Farmers, please use the link here to reach a survey designed specifically for farmers market farmers and vendors.                https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NRWMCYS

Market Managers, organizers and those involved in managing markets, please use the link here to reach a survey designed specifically to learn your needs and interests.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFVQYYD