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 initial interviews with farmers have been completed. A final survey has been mailed to farmers (n=519). A second reminder notice was sent to farmers to fill out the end of year survey. A total of 120 farmers responded to the mail out survey in 2002.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Eight presentations were made to farmers around the state that discussed the results of the two years of data collection from a farmers market. These presentations number from 10 to 90 persons in the audience. Included in the audience were extension agents, farmers, members of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and food activists. These presentations were made to gain or retain consumer and farmers interest in direct marketing through CSAs and farmers markets. The media has also picked up on the research. The following three bullets highlight the media’s interest in our research:
• July 26, 2002 “Deep-Rooted Beefs.” In the Winston-Salem Business Journal 4 (48):1-2.
• April 2002 “CSA’s: An Alternative Marketing Channel.” In Country Folks Grower. Written by Ann Morrill Whynman. Palatine Bridge, N.Y.Page 3.
• January 10, 2002 FOX 8 T.V. Story on CSAs in North Carolina.
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