Farmers markets making a mark

John Brannen
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Impact of farmers markets on local economy ‘tremendous’, says provincial director

The Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia has released a study that shows more than 55,000 adults shop at farmers’ markets each week, each spending more than $16 per visit.

 

Fleur Mainville, manager of New Glasgow’s Farmers Market Cooperative believes that New Glasgow is leading the pack.

“Our local farmers market is an incredible platform for farmers,” she said. “We have a lot of vendors doing this on the side and for others, they’re making their living this way.”

The number of farmers has tripled to more than 40 locations over the last 10 years, which means Nova Scotia has the most markets per capita in Canada. The study collected information from 21 farmers’ markets over one day between July and August 2013, where more than 3,004 groups of couples or families participated.

New Glasgow’s farmers market took part in that survey that asked basic questions such as how often customers attend, how much they spend and if they are also spending money in the downtown area when they visit the market.

“We’re a medium sized market,” said Mainville. “We have 42 tables with 39 full time members and vendors.”

Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia executive director Keltie Butler said the average market saw 1,300 people on the day of the study, resulting in $22,650 circulating around the local economy.

“While the markets started small, the impact now … is just tremendous,” Butler told Halifax Metro.

The study showed each market shopper spent about $15 at surrounding local businesses, or as much as $29 in some communities.

“In New Glasgow, we have everyone from meat and veggie producers to knitted goods and pottery,” said Mainville. “In order to remain under the NSFM policy, we have to keep it diverse, which makes it difficult sometimes.”

Mainville noted that not only is the New Glasgow market performing well, but it is also used as a positive example when municipalities and markets work together.

“With some places, there’s a struggle working with and finding support from a town.  With New Glasgow it’s quite the opposite and they are looking for ways to help us.”

She noted that this year’s opening day was very successful on May 24 with a large attendance.

“We have our familiar vendors at the market and we’re continuously getting new applications.”

This Saturday’s market will feature some goods from a chocolatier that owned a business in B.C.

 

john.brannen@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

 

 

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada B.C.

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