Feb 15 2011

Farmers’ Market Benefits Local Economy

The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market contributes to both healthy meals and a healthy local economy, according to a study conducted by the nonprofit organization. Using a survey tool specifically designed to measure the impact of public markets on local economies the land trust found a total economic benefit of over $2.6 million during its 28 week, 2010 market season. “This survey confirms the importance of local farmers and markets to the regional economy,” says Margaret Waldock, Hunterdon Land Trust executive director.

“The Hunterdon Land Trust works to ensure a sustainable future for Hunterdon County by preserving the land that provides us with local food and clean water” says Ms. Waldock. “Part of what this survey shows is that a sustainable economy and a sustainable environment are not only compatible, but deeply dependent on one another.”

The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market was started in 2007 to help support local farmers. “In addition to making farms themselves more accessible by preserving farmland, the land trust wanted to help farmers by providing them with a venue to sell locally produced food to thepublic.” Ms. Waldock explains. “As the market gained in popularity we felt it was important to be able to measure the economic impact the market is having in Hunterdon County.”

Information was collected from shoppers at the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market over the 2010 season to find out how much was spent each week at the market and at nearby businesses, as well as the economic impact when those dollars are reinvested throughout the community. Data was then analyzed using the Sticky Economy Evaluation Device (SEED), a tool produced by the nonprofit organization Market Umbrella to measure the economic impact of public markets. SEED uses customer surveys, market attendance, and a multiplier supplied by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and tailored to a geographic region in order to determine the downstream impact of a market.

The survey showed that shoppers spent a total of $660,000 at the Farmers’ Market and $590,000 at other local business on market days in 2010. The downstream benefit of keeping that money circulating within the local economy is an additional $1.3 million.

Local businesswoman Carol Todd has owned the popular restaurant Market Roost on Main Street in Flemington for 30 years. “Many of my customers love to go to The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Dvoor Farm on Sundays” she says. “They will visit the market and come for Sunday Brunch. Customers often talk about what exciting produce they purchased that day. Some will consult with Chef/Owner Norman about how he would cook or prepare the product they purchased at the market. It is definitely an exciting addition to our area!”

“It is wonderful to see how our farmers’ market supports the local economy. The market is a partnership between the land trust, a nonprofit organization, and our local business sponsors” says Ms. Waldock. “I’d like to thank the local businesses who sponsored the 2010 Farmers’ Market for investing in the land trust, and in our community. Donations from Stem Brothers’ Inc., Basil Bandwagon Natural Market, Matt’s Red Rooster Grill and Team Capital Bank helped make the market, and its contributions to the local economy, possible.

The market is closed for the season and will reopen in May 2011.

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