Portland Farmers Market finds shoppers motivated by local economy over fresh tomatoes
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Portland Farmers Market organization surveyed shoppers over the summer during the market's peak to find out what motivated them to come shop the four community farmers markets run by the nonprofit in Buckman, King, Northwest and Kenton.
When the group asked the same question at farmers markes in 2008, the most frequent response was that shoppers wanted to know the source of their food — the driving force of the "Know your farmer, know your food" initiative that was launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2009.
|Portland Farmers Market survey results >>|
Now, however, supporting the local economy is the No. 1 reason shoppers flock to the farmers market.
The Portland Farmers Market, which operates eight weekly farmers markets — the largest held Saturdays at Portland State University operates year round — found that 41 percent of its shoppers cited "support the local economy" as their primary reason for coming to the market. The "variety/quality/diversity" of the product trailed at 21 percent and "know your food" came in at 18 percent.
The farmers market cites a report published in "Reader's Digest" that says that for every $100 spent at a farmers' market, $62 goes back into the local economy, and $99 out of $100 spent stays in the state.
Bill McKibben, the environmentalist and author who will pass through Portland next week promoting the math on climate change, has long championed the economic benefits of farmers market.
"Farmers' markets have been the fastest growing part of our food economy, and it is now reached the point where the USDA said last year that for the first time in 150 years, there were more farms in America instead of fewer," McKibben said during a speech at Dartmouth College in 2011. "We're beginning to really understand that those connections are so important, not only for ecological reasons.
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