Growing Carver community connections

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2007: $9,800.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $16,100.00
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Jack Hunter
Department of Planning and Community Development


  • Agronomic: corn, potatoes, sunflower
  • Fruits: melons, apples, berries (blueberries), berries (cranberries), grapes, peaches, pears, berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, cucurbits, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals
  • Animals: bees, fish, shellfish


  • Education and Training: display, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, participatory research, workshop, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, market study
  • Sustainable Communities: leadership development, local and regional food systems, partnerships, public participation, social capital

    Proposal abstract:

    Carver’s AgCom launched a farmers' market in 2006 to provide visibility for agriculture in the town and provide a new retail market for existing and new farmers. Although considered “good” by the market vendors, the market needs to be strengthened to include more Carver vendors and more locally grown and produced product. The Department of Planning and Community Development has joined with the AgCom and together they propose that the farmers’ market serve as a hub for town and community outreach and education activities focused on engaging new Carver residents in town government, while offering a consistent retail market for new and existing growers. This project intends to encourage new growers in Carver by providing them with an accessible and established market and with grower education. The project will sponsor educational events for those interested in growing for the farmer’s market. In coordination with the AgCom, Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP), and the Barnstable County Extension, grower-to grower workshops will be conducted in areas of “growing a Farmer’s Market garden,, including vegetables, cut flowers, and growing methods, conventional to organic.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Survey instruments will be used for gathering data from Farmers Market vendors and from Market customers. Survey results will be analyzed and used by the Market Manager, Project Coordinator, and Advisory Committee to measure project goal achievement. Growing Carver Community Connections Project goals are:

    1. Carver residents recognize the Market as a hub for civic outreach and education.

    2. The # of Carver residents visiting the market increases throughout the Market season.

    3. The # of Carver residents who are repeat customers increases through the Market season.

    4. New resident participation in town government activities is encouraged and achieved.

    5. More than 50% of Market vendors are Carver growers/producers.

    6. More than 50% of vendors sell locally grown produce and/or products made from local

    7. An economic incentive is created to encourage new small growers in Carver.

    Surveys of vendors and customers were conducted during the 2006 Farmers Market season. Forty-two vendors in total participated in the Carver Farmers Market. Some sold products seasonally; others sold products throughout the Market season, May through October. Of these 42 vendors, 20 sold local grown or produced products and 22 sold crafts and baked goods. The goal in 2007 is to increase the number of those selling locally grown and produced products to more than 50% of participating vendors.

    Sixteen of the 42 vendors surveyed in 2006 were from Carver. The goal in 2007 is to increase Carver participation to greater that 50% of market vendors by providing an easily accessible retail market outlet for new, small growers in Carver. Quantitative responses will document our success in increasing the number of Carver vendors and qualitative responses will measure vendor progress and achievements.

    Results of customer surveys completed in 2006 demonstrated that customers come to the Market mainly for vegetables, fruit, seafood and value-added products; that most are Carver residents; and that the overwhelming majority are first time customers. The 2007 surveys will be designed to measure number of customers, customer product demand, items purchased, residency, first time or repeat customers, interest in civic involvement and engagement in civic events and organizations.

    The project has two target audiences, Farmers Market vendors/growers and Carver resident customers. Verification that these target audiences have benefited from this project will be provided through the implementation of the surveys, analyzing the results and making needed project modifications throughout the project duration. Vendor economic satisfaction, Carver vendor numbers, and types of products sold will be measured. Customer satisfaction, number of Carver residents, repeat customers, customer demand, interest in civic participation and civic engagement will be measured.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.