Colleen Donovan

Doin’ the Dots: farmers market data collection engages community participation

Posted by Colleen Donovan | August 30, 2012

How many customers do we have? What do customers care about most? How much do they spend?

And how do you answer these questions with no turnstiles, barcodes, or cash registers to be found? The very charms of shopping a farmers market – a weekly intimacy with the product and producer; low-tech, hand-crafted displays; and the intermittent transformation of parking lot or city street into colorful, bustling marketplace – can make data collection a real challenge. And these questions don’t just matter to farmers and other vendors, they matter to the farmers market as a whole. Read more »

Love farmers markets? Thank your market managers.

Posted by Colleen Donovan | August 24, 2012

August is peak season for Washington State’s 160 farmers markets. With the rain in check and days long, farmers are out in full force with their tree-ripened peaches, corn picked that day, heirloom tomatoes, farmstead cheeses, grass-fed meats, and more. We estimate that farmers markets support around 1,400 unique farms. Some of these farms have been selling directly to customers for decades, building profitable family enterprises. Others are just getting started, experimenting and learning each season. Regardless of scale or product, farmers markets provide a vital marketplace for these farm businesses. Read more »

Filed under Community and Society, Food Systems
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