Farmers Markets Hitting Saturation in Some Areas

Earlier this week, Jodi Helmer reported at National Public Radio (NPR) Online that, “Nationwide, the number of farmers markets increased from 2,000 in 1994 to more than 8,600 in 2019, which led to a major problem: There are too few farmers to populate the market stalls and too few customers filling their canvas bags with fresh produce at each market. Reports of farmers markets closing have affected communities from Norco, Calif., to Reno, Nev., to Allouez, Wis.”

The NPR item explained that, “Markets in big cities are hurting too. The Copley Square Farmers Market in Boston reported a 50 percent drop in attendance in 2017. In Oregon, where 62 new markets opened but 32 closed, the researchers of one multiyear study concluded, ‘The increasing popularity of the markets is in direct contrast with their surprisingly high failure rate.’

“Diane Eggert, executive director of the Farmers Market Federation of NY, received numerous reports of closings; she believes the problem is one of pure mathematics.

“‘There are way too many markets,’ she says. ‘The markets have started cannibalizing both customers and farmers from other markets to keep going.'”

The NPR update added that, “Eggert also points to myriad other options that consumers have for accessing fresh foods, including community-supported agriculture and home delivery options from companies such as Amazon, Instacart or Blue Apron that might be more convenient than shopping at a Saturday morning market.”

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