Cranbrook Farmers’ Market is a significant economic player in the local economy, injecting nearly $1 million annually into the local economy, according to a recent study.
“Although people know the market is a great place to buy fresh, local food,” said Erna Jensen-Shill, the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market manager, “the results of this study help us communicate to others how valuable the farmers’ market is to our community.”
About 41,000 people visit the farmers’ market annually and on the day of the study, July 14, 2012, about 1,716 people visited the market. About 420 of these visitors participated in the survey. Over half of shoppers visit the market either ‘regularly’ (almost weekly) or ‘frequently’ (2-3 times per month). Interestingly, says Jensen-Shill, 68.8% of respondents said they would do additional shopping at neighbouring businesses that day", demonstrating the impact of the Market on downtown area businesses. Top reasons for visiting the market included access to fresh, locally grown produce, supporting local area producers, and the community and cultural experience found at the market.
The Cranbrook Farmers’ Market is participating in a province-wide study of the economic and community benefits of farmers markets. “Farmers’ markets continue to serve as the face of farming in BC,” said Elizabeth Quinn, Executive Director of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. “There has been significant growth in the number and vitality of farmers’ markets in BC and it is important to understand not only what they contribute but also how much they contribute to local neighbourhoods, cities, and towns,” she explained.
The study is being carried out by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets in collaboration with Dr. David Connell, a professor in the School of Environmental Planning at the University of Northern British Columbia. Financial assistance was provided by participating farmers’ markets, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, and Vancity Community Foundation.