Increasing Growers’ Quality of life through Direct Marketing: The Role of Farmers’ Markets and Consumer Supported Agriculture
This research examines a farmers market in North Carolina and serves as a case study. The overall goal of this research project is to identify ways in which growers in North Carolina can improve their quality of life by increasing the community’s support for local agricultural products. Our approach combines farmers’ and consumers’ actions, beliefs and their particular interests in improving the local farmers market. The aim of the applied research design was to increase retention and communication amongst farmers and consumers. Data were obtained from consumer and farmer surveys, and focus groups held among farmers. Results from the data analyses provide recommendations for market managers, farmers and consumers.
This research project and educational program has several specific objectives. They are:
1. To identify consumers’ motivations for coming to a growers’ market;
2. To identify growers’ opportunities to increase sales through direct marketing;
3. To increase opportunities for consumer supported agriculture arrangements;
4. To strengthen grower – consumer linkages; and
5. To develop a multifaceted education program to modify growers’ marketing strategies
and consumers’ purchasing patterns.
All interviews with consumers at (n=463) and away from (n=363) farmers markets have been completed. Four focus groups were held to provide consumer feedback to farmers. Data collected from consumers away from the farmers markets has been entered, coded but not analyzed (n=334). All initial interviews with farmers have been completed. A final survey has been mailed to farmers (n=519). The responses to this survey have not been received.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Four focus groups were held with interested farmers who sell at the farmers market where the research is being carried out. Data from the consumers surveyed at this market were given to the farmers who attended one of the focus groups. Four other presentations were made to consumer interest groups on supporting a local agro-food system. These presentations were made to gain or retain consumer interest in direct marketing through CSAs and farmers markets. I presented along with a Farmer who has a CSA at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Annual conference November 2001 on CSAs, I spoke on “From the Ground UP How to Get Started” and the farmer presented on “This is what we do.” I was asked by the Guilford County Historical Guild to speak on “Save the Farm.” This group enjoyed the presented and spread the word. I have been invited to speak to local garden clubs and a local chapter of the Sierra Club. It is an interactive presentation that enables many people to find a way to support local agriculture.
Goat Lady Dairy
3515 Jess Hackett Road
Climax, NC 27233
Office Phone: 3368242163
Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
Colfax, , NC
Office Phone: 3366059157
4658 Waynick Meadow Road
Asheboro, NC 27203
Office Phone: 3368572775