Survey Determines Consumer Demand for a Local Farmers Market

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Virginia Tech

Regional and local farmer’s markets have sprung up across the Commonwealth of Virginia. To the dismay of many, farmer’s markets fail to remain open for much longer than one season. Several reasons can contribute to this including inadequate demand, too few vendors, and poor product selection; just to name a few. A survey was conducted for the town of Wytheville residents to determine their preferences and objectives for their local farmer’s market. In 2009, a 20 question survey was developed and mailed to 1,017 town residents to gather information about the existing farmer’s market and to guide future direction for the development of a more permanent farmer’s market. Two hundred and eighty‐three surveys were returned, all containing usable data. Respondents indicated a strong desire to have a local farmer’s market and felt that local residents benefitted from having one conveniently located within or near to the town of Wytheville. Products they desired were identified and demographic data were collected. Preferences for operational days and hours were clearly evident as well as general location recommendations. The Farmer’s Market Focus Group, the local Chamber of Commerce, and local extension service personnel can use the information from the survey to locate and facilitate a local farmer’s market that will be more likely to be successful and sustainable.

farmer's markets, community development, needs assessment