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Markets attractive to shoppers (Cupid, too!)


March 3, 2009
By Farmers' Markets Ontario

fmo_flower_vendorsMarch 3, 2009, St. Catherines, Ont. –  Getting healthier, fresh,
locally produced fruits, vegetables, flowers and baked goods are an important
reason for shopping at one of Ontario’s 154 farmers’ markets.

fmo_flower_vendors
 PHOTO COURTESY FMO

March 3, 2009, St. Catherines, Ont. –  Getting healthier, fresh, locally produced fruits, vegetables, flowers and baked goods are an important reason for shopping at one of Ontario’s 154 farmers’ markets. However, a recent study indicates that the number one reason shoppers patronize their local farmers’ market is due to their strong belief in the integrity of shopping in their community and their desire to meet and get to know the producers of the food they eat.
 
Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO) recently completed the fourth in a series of studies over the last decade to benchmark and calculate the economic impact of Ontario farmers’ markets. The study also gave greater understanding of the barriers and opportunity for farmers’ markets along with analysis of shoppers, non-shoppers, vendors and market managers. The results were presented at the annual general meeting of FMO.
 
“The key message we took away from this study is that Farmers’ Markets Ontario needs to get more markets, with more farmer vendors, to produce and sell an even greater variety of products,” says FMO executive director Robert Chorney. “The demand is growing rapidly and we need more producers to fill that demand.”
 
The study showed that market shoppers expressed a strong sense of community pride in supporting local producers and that meeting the actual producer was part of their community shopping experience. Shoppers felt strongly (93 per cent) about the importance of being able to buy directly from a farmer, with 67 per cent calling it “extremely” important. Almost half of vendors report that 50 per cent or more of their total farm income is generated through farmers’ market sales.veggies_clsup
 
Vendors and shoppers are not the only winners. Ontario farmers’ markets are also an important contributor to the Ontario economy with direct sales in 2008 estimated at $641 million, and a province-wide economic impact of up to $1.9 billion annually.
 

This emphasizes the key role that farmers’ markets play in not only selling Canadian agricultural products and generating farm incomes, but also how strongly they contribute to both the economy and to the fabric of their communities. For Ontario, all this is derived from more than 15 million shopper-visits, with an average spending of $27.67 per visit.
 
“Farmers’ Markets Ontario recognizes the strong growth opportunities for farmers’ markets and are moving forward with aggressive marketing and promotion strategies,” explains FMO chairperson Philip Powell. “We are actively seeking out additional vendors and market locations as well as assisting vendors with better signage, advertising and web site information.”
 
For locations, dates and other information on farmers’ markets in Ontario please visit www.farmersmarketsontario.com.
 
 
THE NEW SINGLES’ SCENE?
 
Guys, did Cupid’s arrow miss you on Valentine’s Day? Are you tired of the bar scene? Is the impersonal keyboarding of online dating not your thing? Would you like to meet a gal that enjoys the outdoors, likes to eat fresh, and leads a healthy lifestyle?

Try going to your local Farmers’ Market to find the love you’ve been searching for!
 
A recent study of 508 farmers’ markets across Canada revealed that women shoppers outnumber men almost three to one. About 70 per cent of shoppers are ages 40 and older while 30 per cent are agea 18 to 39. More than half of shoppers routinely visit the market unaccompanied.
 
Over two-thirds of shoppers live within 15 minutes of the market – so she’s likely a local gal. And half of shoppers visit their local market regularly – so hopefully you’ll see her again another day if you couldn’t muster the courage to start a conversation the first time you laid eyes on her.
 
As for you ladies – you could find that it’s more than just the produce that’s “fresh” at the market. Talk about one-stop shopping!

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