Benefits of Farmers Markets
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
As part of the “Engines of the New Farm Economy: Assessing and Enhancing the Benefits of Farmers Markets” project the WSU Small Farms Program has been conducting farmers market research since 2009 and has recently released a summary report on farmers markets and the experiences of market managers in Washington state. WSU Small Farms Program research coordinator Colleen Donovan explains what prompted such a study.
DONOVAN: What prompted this study was a desire from farmers market managers in Washington who really wanted to have more data about farmers markets to better understand the community, the economic, and the environmental impacts.
Donovan says the Washington State Farmer’s Market Association, which consists of roughly 110 members will use data from the research to better represent this sector of agriculture.
DONOVAN: Through public policy, through funding mechanisms, through programming, through what it means for small farms. And also just answering questions - what do we need to sustain ourselves, what do we need to move forward, how are we doing?
With the Farmer’s Market Association support and participation the WSU Small Farms Program received a three year grant from USDA to do this research.
DONOVAN: The market managers and other small farm advocates have been extremely important in terms of doing the work and being participants in the process and guiding us and helping us to collect information that really did not have any other way of being collected.
Tomorrow Donovan will talk about some of the research highlights regarding the community impact of farmers markets and the increasing public interest in local foods.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.