Grow Your Farmer's Market

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $54,211.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Federal Funds: $29,621.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $49,158.00
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Jerry Jost
Kansas Rural Center

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, mentoring, networking
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, agricultural finance, market study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: leadership development, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships

    Proposal abstract:

    Farmers selling commodities are vulnerable to global markets and low prices. One way to reduce the vulnerability is to focus on value-added production. But marketing value-added products to improve farm profitability requires new market skills. An excellent way for farmers to learn these skills is through farmers' markets. These markets provide a low-cost practice field for farmers, allowing them to test products that they may later enter into other markets. Farmers' markets are also an excellent way to reconnect consumers with their food system and develop community support for locally grown foods. This project will expand the awareness of the role farmers' markets serve in developing marketing skills and promoting sustainable agriculture. Educators will gain knowledge of how to use business planning to build successful farmers' markets. As a long-term outcome of this project, Kansans will invest in local food systems through their purchase decisions, formulation of public policies and creation of economic development plans. This project will train farmers' market leaders who will then act as educators within their home markets. They will serve as role models for the less-experienced vendors. In addition, they will learn about forming partnerships with community businesses and organizations to enhance their markets. In sum, this project will inform and train a sector of educators who may not think of themselves as educators but who will, through their already-established leadership roles, use their new skills to influence many people in their respective communities. Farmers' market leaders will be trained in six conferences over three years. These conferences will provide an overview of the research, marketing techniques, regulations and management approaches necessary to develop successful farmers' markets. These conferences will directly impact 350 market leaders, managers and organizers. This project will create twelve mentoring partnerships between master marketers and apprentices. Mentors will transfer management and marketing skills to other farmers and market managers. A business planning curriculum for farmers' market organizers will be developed and delivered to 25 leaders in four farmers' markets. The curriculum will be revised through an iterative process based on the evaluations from each of the four markets. Then, the curriculum will be disseminated through conferences, SARE, ATTRA and posted on the Kansas Rural Center web site.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Short-Term Outcomes:
    -Educators will develop an awareness of the viability of farmers' markets to cutivate entrepreneurship that markets local foods for local consumption.
    -Educators will advance their knowledge of the role that business planning contributes to succesful farmers' markets.
    -Educators will work in partnership with farmers and community stakeholders to develop farmers' markets.
    -Educators will improve their skills in marketing through their involvement with farmers' markets.

    Intermediate Outcomes:
    -Educators will facilitate business planning workshops to develop farmers' markets.
    -Educators will work with public and private entities to generate funding to promote farmers' markets.
    -Educators will acess information and market planning tools both within and outside the land grant university system.

    Long-Term Outcomes:
    -Similar to Missouri, the farmers' markets in Kansas will organize themselves into a network. This network will engage diverse stakeholders to promote sustainable agriculture.
    -Citizens will invest in local food systems through their purchase decisions, formulation of public policies and creation of economic development plans.

    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.