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
We are now in the final 6 months of our Cultivating Success: Farm and Market Websites Project funded through USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grants. We’ve successfully created a lot of new websites for markets and farms but we need your help to complete the project!
We are still accepting submissions from people who would like a website created for their farm or farmers market – but only until August 15th!
This is an amazing opportunity as participants will have their websites created for them for free and also have their first year’s hosting and domain fees paid for by the Federation. In order to participate, you will need to gather all the information needed to create your website together and submit a Farm Website Design Request or Market Website Design Request depending on whether you are a farm or farmers market.
Please do not submit incomplete forms as this can delay the process. Spaces are limited and the sites will be created on a first come first served basis so please complete the form as soon as possible. Please also forward this email on to anyone who you think might be interested in this program so we make sure to meet our goal to create 100 sites. Remember, the websites come with training videos and a guidebook on how to maintain and update your site so ANYONE can participate in this program, even if you have limited tech skills or previously thought it would be too hard to understand WordPress.
Contact [email protected] with any questions about submitting the form or enrolling in the program.
EXAMPLES OF COMPLETED SITES:
SOME OF THE FEEDBACK WE’VE RECEIVED ABOUT THE PROGRAM:
“Thank you so much! NEVER thought I would say I am actually having fun doing this – working with websites has always been such a struggle before.”~ Market Website Participant
“Loving the website your group designed. Wow! Slick, professional.”~ Farm Website Participant
“I want you to know I really feel like I have the tools to make this website work and update it on a regular basis. I am going to start small and work on it and may send you e-mails from time to time but this has been a FABULOUS project. Thank you again.” ~ Farm Website Participant