Here are some current facts about farmers markets, compiled by the Farmers Market Coalition:
Farmers markets fuel rural economies
According to the USDA, of the $3 billion in direct-to-consumer sales in 2015, on-farm stores and farmers’ markets accounted for $2 billion, or 67 percent.
There are 3.5 times as many U.S. farmers over the age of 65 as there are under 35. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for new farmers, ranchers, and food entrepreneurs allowing them to start small and test new markets and products.
Direct marketing farmers experience lower rates of farm business failure or bankruptcy than growers who sell exclusively wholesale. Growers selling locally create thirteen full-time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those that do not sell locally create only three.
Farmers markets support healthy communities
- The American Fitness Index includes the number of farmers markets per capita as a factor contributing to community health, using it as an indicator for community members’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Over 90% of participants in Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program reported that the amount of locally grown fruits and vegetables that they purchased at farmers markets made a difference in their family’s diet.
- According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if Americans boosted their average daily consumption of fruits and vegetables by just one additional portion per day, it would save America more than $2.7 trillion. Farmers markets offer shoppers the freshest, most flavorful fruits and vegetables in America
Farmers markets support farmland preservation, conservation, and education.
- According to a study conducted by the American Farm Bureau, 72% of consumers know “nothing” or “very little” about farming or ranching. Farmers markets serve as invaluable educational sites and a rare bridge between urban and rural communities.
81% of direct marketing farmers incorporate cover crops, reduced tillage, on-site composting, and other soil health practices into their operations. 75% of direct marketing farmers use practices at or above USDA Organic standards according to the American Farmland Trust.
This document can be found by clicking on this link and clicking on “Farmers Market Facts.”