The Connection Between Farmers Markets and Local Business Prosperity


Article and photo by Eric H.

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P1070527.JPGMichele Morgan Bolton wrote a fine article yesterday for the Boston Globe entitled “Downtowns see hope in healthy Farmers Markets.”


Citing that there are approximately 240 Farmers Markets in Massachusetts today as compared to only 96 in 2004, Bolton reported about how the increase in community Farmers Markets can only help local businesses in a down economy. Great writing, Michele, and relevant topic!

We agree with Bolton that Farmers Markets are not only a relevant way to buy food locally in New England and beyond (especially fruits and vegetables), but also to increase foot traffic in often struggling downtown districts.  It’s basically a mathematical equation: if more traffic comes in regularly to a downtown area, then the chances are much greater of other money being spent at local stores. In many cases, people will find hidden jewels in the downtown like a coffee shop, book store, ice cream place, consignment place, or toy store. It’s amazing how many people we’ve talked to that do not even know what’s in their own downtown!

With so many downtowns struggling, the Farmers Market concept is needed more now than ever. We see so many otherwise inherently attractive New England downtowns with empty storefronts, even in towns that try their best to attract businesses through economic development offices and downtown improvement organizations. And although some towns are just plain myopic in their vision to improve their downtowns, the reality centers on another mathematical equation, this one more bleak: with short money in this recession/depression, the chances of businesses coming to town are far less likely.

That being said, we strongly recommend checking out a local Farmers Market. Especially pleasing in the summer, it’s a way to connect with your community. You’ll see your neighbors, get to meet local businesses owners, discover their great products, and ultimately contribute to money staying in your community.

Here are a list of Massachusetts Farmers Markets at the excellent Federation of Massachusetts Web Site.  It’s a fantastic resource!

We would also like to hear from our New England neighbors about Farmers Markets and realted resources in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Please feel free to post a comment here!

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