A report on the practice of supporting regional grain economies through farmers' market policy
Farmers’ markets are levers that drive regional agriculture, and the issue of how these enterprises can support emerging regional grain movements is at the core of our new report. Over the past several years, AGC has received questions about the role farmers’ markets could play in strengthening regional grain systems. We’ve heard from from farmers, bakers and other food makers, farmers’ market managers, and community members, wondering what opportunities are available to make that happen.
Farmers’ markets provide immense and wide-ranging benefits to the communities in which they operate. By offering low-barrier-to-entry sales opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs, creating spillover spending at neighboring local businesses, and increasing food security and access, farmers’ markets are a central part of many communities’ culture and agricultural economic development.
Some farmers’ markets require farmers to sell what they themselves have produced, such as vegetables, fruits, meats, and honey or maple syrup. This ensures that the money changing hands at the market stays within the regional economy and supports local food and agriculture businesses. It is less common that farmers' markets also require vendors who produce value-added products to source the ingredients used in their ready-to-eat foods, such as bread or tacos, within a specified area. The presence of these vendors—such as bakers and prepared food chefs—creates opportunities for food entrepreneurs, allows consumers to round out their market baskets, and increases attendance at markets.
By expanding sourcing policies to apply to value-added and ready-to-eat product vendors who work with grains, such as bakers, farmers' markets have an opportunity to positively impact regional grain economies.
FULL REPORT currently undergoing revisions and will be available soon
We’d like to thank AGC’s Fellow Katelyn Mann for her dedication to this effort over the past year, which included research and outreach, writing, and assembling the report into layout. Katelyn spends her days managing rooftop farms in San Francisco and brainstorming ways to better support small-scale agricultural economies and farmer education. She connected with AGC by way of member Luke Peterson of A-Frame Farms on a quest to find fields of Kernza® in Minnesota, and has been hooked on the impactful work of the organization and its members ever since.