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A 2019 National Farmers Market Survey conducted by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the National Agricultural Statistical Service collected data regarding management practices from 10,000 farmers markets.
Using the trends and statistics found, AMS and Wheaton College created research briefs highlighting results and sharing insights into the trajectory for farmers markets into the future.
Here are some top statistics identified across all national regions.
Farmers markets across the U.S. differ substantially by geographic location and proximity to urban centers. Farmers market managers revealed considerable diversity in the number of vendors, types of products and federal nutrition programs available at each location.
Nearly 22% of vendors sold products that were either new or novel, like tofu and meat and dairy substitutes, nuts, mushrooms, wild foraged foods, prepared foods, seeds, fermented foods, crafts, soaps, pet food or a service. About 77% of farmers markets had at least one product in that category, showing a prevalence of items beyond typical produce or dairy.
Farmers market managers are often volunteers (34%), rather than paid market employees (29%). Half of the respondents, representing more than 3,000 farmers markets, reported that their markets accepted at least one federal Food and Nutrition Service benefit as payment in 2019. A higher percentage of markets in the West (64%) and in urban spaces (54%) accepted these benefits.
About one-third of farmers markets offered or engaged in at least one food waste and/or conservation program in 2019. The most common programs were donating to food banks, recycling and composting.
For a full list the survey briefs and more information, tinyurl.com/ye22yupk.