The Anacostia Farmers Market (AFM) is a recently established farmers market in a unique, low-income, underserved neighborhood of Washington D.C. In response to needs voiced by the Anacostia community, the market grew out of a collaboration of the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), the Union Temple Baptist Church (in Anacostia), and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Clagett Farm. Since the market opened in July of 1999, it has provided high-quality, farm-fresh produce to a community that otherwise has very little access to healthy, fresh foods, and generally has a lack of familiarity with farmers markets.
The Anacostia Farmers Market will draw sufficient sales volume to support four full-scale independent farm stands (with a goal of at least two of minority operation and ownership) with a market income of at least $500 each week.
Low-income Consumer Targets:
Attendance at the Anacostia Farmers Market will increase by 150% over its 2000 season.
Sales volume at the Anacostia Farmers Market will increase sixfold over its 2000 season.
Food Stamp/EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) sales at market will increase from $50 per season to $600 by 2003.
We will track our progress in reaching these goals by maintaining agreements with vendors to track sales and income at market. We will monitor customer satisfaction with regular surveys at the market and by tracking EBT sales throughout the season for sales volume and number of repeat and regular customers.
For the 2001 season, the Community Incentive project supported two farmers, with the addition of two others that operated self-sufficiently. For the 2002 season, a third farmer will be added to the Community Incentive project. Farmer sales averaged $166 for farmer 1 with a high of $271 and $334 for farmer 2 with a peak of $409. Farmer satisfaction is high with the market as the guaranteed income is a good incentive and the market provides a good outlet for certain crops. Both farmers attended every week but one. They also are happy to be part of a project that provides a community service.
Attendance for the 2001 season increased by 68%, from an average of 105 in 2000 to 155 in 2001, which is halfway to the overall goal of an 150% increase by the end of the project.
While total farmer sales figures were not recorded in 2000, two of the vendors that were recorded showed sales similar to this season’s totals. The 2001 season showed total farmer sales of $8,595 ($3,321 for farmer 1 and $5,274 for farmer 2), with a total community incentive payment of $11,789, less than half of what was allocated for the season.
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) sales totaled $135 for the season. Unfortunately, sales slowed to a crawl by the end of the season, and it was determined that the program should be discontinued due to lack of participation and the failure of the District government to provide a hand-held EBT device that would streamline the EBT redemption process at an outdoor farmers market.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
In 2001, the Anacostia Farmers Market experienced increased customer attendance and good farmer sales. New events this year included regular monthly health screenings, an increase in chef demonstrations from six to 12, educational information and recipes available every week, and the formation of new community partnerships – with Ambassador Baptist Church, Whitman Walker clinic, the Ward 8 business council, and an increased partnership with Union Temple Baptist Church.
Ambassador Church formed a partnership with the Anacostia Farmers Market through advertising in their church bulletin and hanging a banner on church property at a busy intersection. The church also collects some of the produce that CAFB purchases from the farmers through the Community Incentives project and provides volunteers to assist with market take down. The market developed a partnership with the Proud and Positive project at the Whitman Walker AIDS clinic to provide HIV testing monthly at the market site. The market manager attended meetings at the Ward 8 Business Council to build community support for the market.
The marketing plan for 2001 was developed with input from local and national farmers market managers, public relations and marketing professionals, community members and market customers, USDA-AMS report findings and previous experiences.
The plan included a healthy mix of media, special events, and collaborations. Media coverage included radio and TV news reports, newspaper articles, and a local talk show. In the neighborhood, banners, posters and flyers were used along with paid advertisements on city buses and the metro. Special events included an opening day celebration with a clown, face painting, a live band, and craft vendors. A harvest festival was held near the end of the season in October with a clown, pumpkin painting, a cooking demonstration, pie contest and live disc jockey. Both events were well attended with 300 people attending the opening day and 200 for Harvest Festival. The vendors appreciated the extra attendance and atmosphere the special events created and requested more for next season.
After consultation with public relations professionals, community members, and Capital Area Food Bank staff, the market added another new component: raffles. Two $100 raffles were held, one in June and one in August. A free T-shirt raffle was offered in July with three winners receiving a T-shirt with the market logo on it. The raffles were determined to be unsuccessful as attendance was actually down for each event, even with hundreds of advertising flyers distributed throughout the neighborhood.
In order to build upon the weekly collection of sales and attendance data, approximately three dozen people were surveyed at the market throughout the season. The surveys allowed customers to provide suggestions for products at the market, modes of transportation, and also helped to measure customer satisfaction. Every customer said that they were pleased with the market and that they would return.
Union Temple Baptist Church
1225 W Street, SE
Washington, DC 20020
Office Phone: 2026788822