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

2009 Annual Report for LNC06-267

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

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


During follow-up conversations with farmers who participated in the survey work during 2008, they expressed interest in learning more about the variability of sales from market to market. It appeared that this variability was due in part to both organizational differences in markets and farmer decisions to sell in multiple markets. In response, a telephone survey of Michigan farmers markers was done to identify the type of organization, with a focus on the type of farmer involvement in the management, and measures taken to recruit and retain farmers. Based on the results of these interviews, panel discussions of farmer-vendors and market managers were planned for the 2010 annual Michigan Farmers Market Association meetings.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The objectives for this continuation period of the project were:
1) Continue conversations with participating farmers market vendors specifically to assess plans to respond to the rise in fuel costs;
2) Undertake a telephone survey of farmers market managers in Michigan (specifically those affiliated with MIFMA, to assess their approach to involving farmers in market governance, and measures to recruit new farmers;
3) Convene 3 regional focus groups larger farmers gain their insights on the challenges and opportunities for larger farmers to participate in farmers markets;
4) Host pane discussions during the 2010 Nat Resources week on the MSU campus with farmer vendors and market managers to identify and discuss their lessons from participating in the project; and
5) Prepare educational or guideline material for market managers.


The principal milestones for this year included:
1)an appreciation of the costs incurred by farmer-vendors; and
2)an appreciation of the various strategies used by farmers to adjust to rising fuel costs;
3)an appreciation of the different strategies used by different markets to attract and retain farmer-vendors, including their participation in market governance.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The principal contribution of the project at this stage has involved helping farmer-vendors gain an improved appreciation of the cost incurred in participating in different markets, and thereby help them gain greater insight into their decisions concerning the markets in which they would consider selling.


Jim Bingen
323 Natural Resources Building
Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation & Resource Studies (CARRS) Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222
Office Phone: 5173494272