Farmers' Markets: A Real Opportunity for Michigan Fruit and Vegetable Growers

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $76,600.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Jim Bingen
Michigan State University

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: general
  • Vegetables: general


  • Farm Business Management: economic/marketing

    Proposal abstract:

    This project identifies the constraints on, and opportunities for mid-size fruit and vegetable growers to become successful vendors in the growing number of Michigan farmers’ markets. The project helps “farming-occupation farms” that comprise part of “agriculture in the middle” to consider farmers’ markets as a viable diversification opportunity and part of an overall market strategy that can assure their profitability and sustainability. Marketing and farm management strategies of 20 successful, sustainable and diverse mid-size farmer-vendors will be compiled and summarized in a short, “how-to” manual, e.g., “Farmers’ Markets – Your Successful Marketing Strategy.” At two Great Lakes Fruit & Vegetable Expos and statewide farmer meetings (e.g., Horticultural Society), farmer-vendors will exchange their experiences and ideas with those not currently selling in farmers’ markets. These conversations and the manual will help non-vendor farmers consider the time, approach and economic costs and benefits associated with making farmers’ markets part of their overall marketing strategy. The manual and our continuing series of farmers’ market discussions around the state and at the Expo will also help farmers’ market managers develop more successful farmer-vendor recruitment strategies. The manual will be distributed to, and discussed with state farmer and commodity groups, as well as publicized through the various industry and MSU Extension media. Agricultural entrepreneurial training modules on farmers’ market marketing will be developed. In addition to on-going evaluation and project adjustments based on discussions at the Expo and other trade meetings, short- to medium term accomplishments will be assessed by the success of the recruitment efforts by farmers’ market managers, and by follow-up surveys with newly recruited vendors to evaluate their experiences.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    •develops easily accessible marketing and farm management strategy information, and,
    •offers information-gathering opportunities for mid-size fruit and vegetable farmers to learn about, and use to develop their own more diversified marketing strategies that include farmers’ markets.
    •farmers’ market boards and managers will acquire information that helps them establish farmers’ market policies and procedures to attract more mid-size fruit and vegetable growers as vendors.

    •more mid-size fruit and vegetable growers will participate as vendors in Michigan farmers’ markets.
    •information about making farmers’ markets a successful marketing strategy will be available through a “how-to” manual and also be used to support agricultural entrepreneurial training.

    •as more mid-size fruit and vegetable growers are attracted to, and selling in farmers’ markets,
    •these markets will become one way for these farmers to remain in business;
    •farmers’ markets will find it easier to attract more Michigan farmer-vendors; and,
    •consumers will have more opportunities to purchase fresh and local fruit and vegetables.

    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.