Central Minnesota Farmers' Markets
Foster development of farmers' markets throughout the Central Region as a way to promote healthy eating and local farm economy to:
- provide fresh locally grown food products to people within the communities as well as for tourist populations;
- educate people on the healthy nutrient value of locally grown food products
- provide additional economic development to growers
- build community among people involved in farmers' markets
- promote local community events and attractions to tourist population
University Extension led educational workshops in farmers' markets including licensing, health and safety issues, insurance requirements; marketing and promotion; attracting producers and retaining customers; market evaluation. University of Minnesota Extension educator developed manual for starting and sustaining a farmers' market.
Working with community leaders and local producers, the project developed a leadership team for each community market. These representatives developed a plan for starting and maintaining their markets, including proposals for signage, advertising and promotion. In addition, a regional promotional piece was developed promoting Central Regional farmers' markets and other activities and events within communities. Advertising in the Initiative Foundation quarterly magazine fostered development of markets and sustainability of the markets. The project sponsored workshops twice each year in several locations throughout the region, including the following topics: customer service; licensing, health and safety and insurance requirements; evaluating the success of your market; advertising and promoting your market.
Over the three year project period, the number of farmers' markets grew significantly, from markets in 4 communities in 2003, 10 communities in 2004, 20 communities in 2005 and 24 communities in 2006. Based on survey results, producers have indicated a substantial increase in summer income due to the markets and some have stated it is what has kept them in the farming business. Educational workshops were attended by producers, and community leaders who are establishing new markets.
$25,375 from the CRSDP
Cooperating Farmers (in-kind time) $7,400.00
Initiative Foundation $4,500.00
University of Minnesota Extension (in-kind time) $10,000.00